Homeless Man Charged In I-85 Bridge Fire To Plead Not Guilty

One of Basil Eleby's four attorneys working pro-bono, Lawrence Zimmerman, spoke at a press conference Friday and said Eleby would plead not guilty.
Credit Tasnim Shamma / WABE
Audio version of this story here.

Attorneys for the homeless man accused of setting the fire that caused the I-85 bridge to collapse last month said he will plead not guilty next week.

Like us on Facebook

Basil Eleby is in Fulton County Jail and being held on a $200,000 bond. He faces two felony charges of arson and damage to property.

One of his attorneys, Mawuli Davis, said Eleby is “devastated” people think he set the fire.

“You come pick this one little guy as he’s the reason for the entire collapse of I-85. It’s absurd,” Davis said. “He sees himself being projected as someone who is capable and would somehow get some joy in something as catastrophic as this. He is not that man.”

Davis and three other attorneys, Lawrence Zimmerman, Tiffany Roberts and Gary Spencer are representing Eleby for free. They said the collapse is actually the Georgia Department of Transportation’s fault for storing flammable material under the bridge. They plan to put GDOT on trial through the court proceedings.

Eleby’s next court date is an arraignment on Tuesday, April 18 in Fulton County Superior Court.