A Long County man was sentenced to five years in federal prison for starting a fire last summer that destroyed a historic shopping center in downtown Glennville.
Jonathan Shane Culbreth, 21, was sentenced Thursday by Chief U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood.
Culbreth will serve without the possibility of parole. Following his release from prison, the United States Probation Office will supervise him for three years. Culbreth will be required to make restitution of $892,410 to the businesses affected by his crime.
Culbreth set the fire June 5, 2016, by igniting a junk pile in a back alley shortly before dawn. Firefighters from nearly a dozen agencies in four counties responded to extinguish the blaze. The inferno required more than 13 hours to control.
About an hour after fire crews began battling the blaze, a backdraft blew out the front windows and knocked several firefighters down, but no serious injuries were reported, according to the initial report by Glennville Deputy Fire Chief Jim Anderson.
Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Durham said, “With one foolish decision, this defendant not only endangered the lives of dozens of firefighters, but he also stole from Glennville a structure nearly as old as the town itself. This U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with its federal and local partners to bring to justice arsonists and other violent offenders who threaten the safety and security of law-abiding citizens.”
The arson was investigated by the ATF, the Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Tattnall County Fire Department, the Glennville Police Department, the Tattnall County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Long County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore S. Hertzberg prosecuted the case.