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Rejected man sets woman’s home and car on fire is in custody


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    COBB, Georgia (WGCL) — Cobb Superior Court held their first weeklong trial that ended on Friday in a sentencing.

This was the first trial the court has held since March 2020 following the pandemic.

The jury found Jerel Jay Wilson, 29, Union City, guilty on all counts of arson in the first degree, arson in the second degree, and simple battery.

According to a police spokesperson, Wilson was facing charges back in 2018. Wilson had been texting a woman about her new boyfriend and on the morning of September 11, 2018, texted that same lady a picture of the World Trade Center on fire from the attacks of September 11, 2001.

After Wilson sent those texts while the woman and her roommate were at work, he broke into their apartment at Wyndcliff Galleria in Smyrna and set her bedroom on fire, which destroyed their apartment.

Investigators also discovered Wilson stole a television from the apartment.

Fortunately, the fire did not spread to other units in the building, police said.

Police tell CBS46 News several weeks later, following the apartment fire, that same woman was driving her friend to the InTown Suites in Smyrna when she inadvertently dialed Wilson’s number.

Wilson then drove to the InTown Suites, physically attacked her, and set her car on fire.

Investigators discovered in both fires, security footage, Wilson’s phone, and a GPS device on his car, which placed him at the crime scenes at the time of both arsons.

Investigators from the Smyrna Fire Marshal’s Office also found a pawn ticket showing Wilson had pawned the stolen television on the same day it was stolen.

The investigation further revealed that after the second fire, Wilson sent the woman a text saying, “I apologize.”

“In 2018, jealousy and rejection left a path of destruction,” said Assistant District Attorney Jared Horowitz, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Jay Winkler. “I appreciate the jurors for their service during a pandemic and for delivering justice to this woman, who was tormented by this Defendant. This verdict sends a message that this kind of dangerous behavior will not be tolerated in Cobb County. This verdict also would not have been possible without the thorough investigation done by the Smyrna Fire Marshals.”

According to officials, after the verdict on Friday afternoon, Cobb Superior Court Judge Ann B. Harris told Wilson that his lack of concern and insight for his conduct was astonishing.

Judge Harris then sentenced Wilson to 30 years, with 20 years to serve in prison and the balance on probation.

She also issued a permanent protective order prohibiting Wilson from having any contact with the woman.

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