Arsonist sentenced to federal prison for setting fires in Savannah

A Chatham County man who set fires in Savannah has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in federal prison.

Marvin Antwon Williams, 44, of Savannah, was sentenced to 151 months in prison after pleading guilty to Arson, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S District Court Chief Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Williams to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Fires in an urban area are highly dangerous and potentially devastating to nearby residents,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “Fortunately, the Savannah Fire Department’s fast response prevented greater harm, and Marvin Williams is now being held accountable for his criminal acts.”

As described in court documents and testimony, Savannah firefighters were called to a vacant home under renovation on 39th Street on the evening of April 10, 2022, and extinguished a fire on the front porch roof. A short time later, firefighters were called to another fire in a lane near the same home, and while extinguishing that fire were notified that a new fire had started at the same home.

Investigators learned that Williams had been staying in the residence without the owner’s authorization, and Williams was later was taken into custody. He pled guilty in February in U.S. District Court to one count of Arson, and at sentencing was designated as a career offender due to a long history of criminal convictions, including multiple crimes of violence or controlled substance offenses.

“Arson is an extremely violent crime that not only destroys property but also places firefighters, first responders, and the public at great risk,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “The ATF, along with the Savannah Fire Department Arson Unit and our other law enforcement partners, are committed to ensuring that our communities are safe and that those who commit these dangerous acts are held accountable.”

“The Savannah Fire Arson Unit would like to thank the ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s office for their assistance in this investigation,” said Fred Anderson Chief Investigator for the Savannah Fire Arson Unit. “Arson is a serious crime that affects the entire community. I’m happy that we were able to remove this arsonist from the community and ensure he will not be able to set any more fires and put more lives in danger.”

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Savannah Fire Department Arson Unit, and prosecuted for the United States by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Z. Spitulnik.

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