SYCAMORE – A DeKalb police detective testified Thursday morning that the woman who set multiple fires in a Ridge Drive apartment did so because the tenant was trying to break up with her.
Judge Philip Montgomery set bond at $100,000 for Chikyta Williams, 23, of the 1000 block of Crane Drive, DeKalb, who if convicted of aggravated arson could face six to 30 years in prison.
Detective Sonny Streit said in court that Williams set fire to electronics in the living room, the garbage can, clothes, a bed and a dresser in an apartment at 808 Ridge Drive, and that video and witnesses confirm she entered the apartment, set the fires and then left as it filled with smoke.
Court records show representatives of Hunter Properties, which owns the building, estimate the damage at $100,000, that dozens of people were forced out of the building by the fire, and that several of them are displaced.
Streit testified that state fire marshal dogs did not find an accelerant in the apartment, and that Williams told him she wasn’t in the area at the time of the fire. He said the tenant was trying to break up with her, prompting her to set the fires.
Court records show the fire was set before 9 a.m. Tuesday, and it took about half an hour for firefighters to get the flames under control. Two adults and two children were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, but no one was taken to the hospital.
Montgomery explained his logic to the court as he set bond, as recent bail reform requires judges to not set it at an excessive amount if the defendant does not pose a risk to the community, or is not a risk to flee.
“I’m going to balance that against safeguarding the public,” he said. “In this particular case, she has a lack of income at best. Ordinarily, I would set a much more significant bond, but because of her lack of income, bond will be set in the amount of $100,000.”
Williams told Montgomery that she will not be able to come up with $10,000 to be released. If bail is posted, he ordered that she be placed on electronic home monitoring, and that she be banned from the property.
A preliminary hearing for Williams was set for 9 a.m. Feb. 9.