Man sentenced in Alabaster apartment arson

Published 11:13 am Thursday, April 28, 2016

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A 31-year-old Vestavia Hills man will spend the next several months in prison after pleading guilty to intentionally setting an Alabaster apartment building on fire last summer.



Robert Allen Bryant, who lists an address on Cedar Crest Drive in Vestavia, pleaded guilty to one felony count of second-degree arson during an April 27 hearing in front of Judge Daniel Crowson at the Shelby County Courthouse.

Crowson originally sentenced Bryant to 15 years in prison, but split the sentence between six months in prison followed by two years of supervised probation. He received 34 days of jail credit for time he has already served in the Shelby County Jail.

If Bryant violates the conditions of his probation, his original 15-year sentence could be revoked.

Bryant originally was charged with first-degree arson, which is a Class A felony carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison. Through a plea agreement, Bryant pleaded to the lesser second-degree arson charge, which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.

As a result of his guilty plea, Bryant must avoid contact with the Montevallo Place apartment complex on Alabama 119 in Alabaster.

The Alabaster Police Department arrested Bryant on June 12, 2015, and charged him with one felony count of first-degree arson. The arrest came as the result of an Alabaster Fire Department investigation into an early June blaze in the Montevallo Place apartment complex.

Alabaster Fire Chief Jim Golden previously said the department responded to the fire call on the afternoon of June 4, 2015, and discovered the blaze in one of the apartment complex’s units.

Golden said firefighters extinguished the fire before it could spread to other units, and said nobody was injured in the incident.

After the incident, Fire Department investigators looked into the cause of the blaze and later classified it as an arson case, Golden said. According to Bryant’s arrest warrant, “multiple residents” were in the building at the time of the fire.

Bryant remained in the Shelby County Jail for more than a month before he posted bond on July 15, according to court records.