N.J. man pleads guilty in $1M Holly Hill arson

N.J. man pleads guilty in $1M Holly Hill arson
Crews battle the structure fire in Holly Hill

HOLLY HILL, S.C. (WCSC) - A man has pleaded guilty in federal court to setting fire to multiple buildings in downtown Holly Hill in January 2018, which caused more than $1 million in damage.

Marvin Leroy Smith-Capers Jr., 37, of Newark, New Jersey will be sentenced at a later date.

The fire launched a national investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Holly Hill police Chief Joshua Detter said Capers-Smith was spotted fleeing from the area that night. Officers first noticed Smith-Capers driving recklessly away from the fire. He then lost control of his SUV and crashed. At the accident scene, officers found merchandise from one of the buildings which burned in the fire.

He was also linked to the scene through an ankle monitor he was wearing as part of a previous probationary sentence.

The fire, called in at 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 8, 2018, destroyed the Super 10 department store and two neighboring stores, Joy’s Touch of Class and Goldstein’s, on Old State Road.

A federal grand jury indicted Capers-Smith on one count of Arson on May 9, 2018.

Smith-Capers faces a minimum term of five years in federal prison, and a maximum of 20 years. He is also subject to a maximum $250,000 fine, and he will be responsible for restitution to the store owners.

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