The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 9, 2013

Hinton man pleads guilty to two counts

By Jessica Farrish
Register-Herald Reporter

— A Hinton man facing an arson charge and two counts of attempted murder for allegedly setting fire to a Hinton residence in February pleaded guilty Monday in Summers County Circuit Court to one count of first-degree arson and attempted malicious wounding.

Billy Joe Gill, 25, allegedly set a fire to a Fifth Avenue dwelling after his aunt, Jeanie Adkins, refused to let him into the residence shortly after 1 a.m. on Feb. 26.

Adkins and her aunt were in the home at the time the fire was set, officials reported.

Gill’s trial on the charges had been expected to start today.

Summers Prosecuting Attorney Amy Mann said she and her assistant determined that a plea agreement was in the best interest of the state, following meetings with the State Fire Marshal’s office and police.

“Pleading as charged to the arson satisfied us from a legal perspective,” Mann said Monday.

She added that Gill did not speak at the hearing.

Gill originally also was charged with a second count of arson for setting fire to an apartment building on Brick Row on Hinton’s Temple Street that same day. That charge was dropped when the fire marshal’s office failed to determine exactly what caused that blaze.

— E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com