Accused Gallery Furniture arsonist back in court

CONROE- The man charged with first-degree arson in the May 23 fire at Gallery Furniture fire in Houston stood before 9th District Court Judge Fred Edwards Thursday morning for arraignment in an unrelated Montgomery County case. However, the arraignment did not occur.

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Robert Carroll Gillham, 66, of Houston was arrested on July 23 by members of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office on burglary charges stemming from an incident on April 23 in which Gillham allegedly terrorized a South Montgomery County woman and her children when he went to her house unexpectedly in a state of rage and forced entry when she refused to open the door.

On July 28, while still in the Montgomery County Jail, Gillham was charged with arson in the Harris County case.

His arraignment on the Montgomery County charge was scheduled for Thursday morning in Edwards’ court, but had to be reset because his attorney never arrived.

Montgomery County prosecutor Sylvia Yarborough said she did not believe Gillham’s attorney was notified of the arraignment. It was reset for next Thursday.

Yarborough said her office had not discussed setting aside the Montgomery County case with Harris County prosecutors, so they could proceed with the arson case. Montgomery County will cooperate with Harris County, but plan to proceed with the burglary of a habitation case since Gillham is already in Conroe, she said.

Yarborough said her office plans to proceed as quickly as possible with the arraignment and setting a trial date.

Gillham’s bond is currently set at a total of $650,000 for both charges.

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