published Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Man pleads guilty to arson charge

A 49-year-old man pleaded guilty to charges that he threw a Molotov cocktail at an East Ridge home last April.

Phillip Tolbert pleaded guilty to arson and faces a sentence of three to six years. He is in Hamilton County Jail on a $125,000 bond.

Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman will sentence Tolbert after the prosecutor and defense attorneys review a pre-sentencing investigation report, to be conducted in the coming weeks.

He originally faced charges of aggravated arson, possession of an explosive device and reckless endangerment, but the charges were reduced to arson and others dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

No one was injured in the April 4, 2011, incident. Occupants of the home told police that Tolbert had threatened to “burn down” the home earlier that day.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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