A man angry at being denied baby chicks from a Winston County plant has pleaded guilty to setting the business on fire in December, according to federal authorities.
Charles William Heavner, Jr., a 43-year-old man from Hackleburg, pleaded guilty to arson for "maliciously damaging" the Marshall Durbin office with fire on Dec. 4, 2012, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
According to his plea agreement with the government, Heavner became angry after the Marshall Durbin plant did not provide him baby chickens to raise due to maintenance problems with the chicken housing facilities on his farm. Previously Heavner had contracted with the company.
Authorities say Heavner got angry on the morning of Dec. 4 and threatened the company's broiler manager with physical violence. The manager warned an employee at the operation office about Heavner's threats and told her to lock the door.
As the employee locked the door to the office, she spotted Heavner pulling into the parking lot in his truck. He took a five-gallon bucket from his truck and his walking cane and approached the building. The employee told him he couldn't enter, but Heavner tried to kick in the locked door.
Other employees who weren't inside the building were called and came to help. When they arrived, they found the front of the building on fire and put out the fire with fire extinguishers.
The five-gallon bucket, containing traces of gasoline, was found in the back of a company truck parked nearby the building. Heavner's cane and a cigarette lighter were also discovered next to the building.
No one was injured in the incident. Heavner fled from the scene but was captured a couple days later hiding in his sister's home in Oklahoma.
The ATF, Alabama State Fire Marshal, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Winston County Sheriff's Office investigated the case.
Heavner now faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 find. His sentencing date is August 14.
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