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Columbia man charged with arson posts $5 million bond

A Columbia man charged with a December arson posted a $5 million bond Friday.

Mehrdad Fotoohighiam was arrested in July following a standoff where he barricaded himself in a home off Carrick Court.

Fotoohighiam pleaded not guilty Monday to a single charge of first-degree arson.

In December, firefighters found a woman who was bleeding with second degree burns after escaping a home off Rock Quarry Road.

Fotoohighiam owned Electenergy Technologies Inc. (ETI) which has an old company sign next door to the torched trailer.

Several people, including former employees, told Columbia police they witnessed or knew others that Fotoohighiam offered money to burn down the property on Rock Quarry Road. James Hall, who is still in the Boone County Jail, is suspected of taking $500 from Fotoohighiam to light the home on fire.

One of his employees, who has since walked away from the job, told ABC 17 News that Fotoohighiam went by the name of Mike Mehrdad and that Mehrdad had an ongoing dispute with the woman who owned the trailer.

Associate Circuit Judge Kim Shaw denied motions on July 24 to reduce his bond to $500,000 cash-only, and to completely revoke his bond. Assistant Prosecutor Brouck Jacobs argued Fotoohighiam was a flight risk since he has dual citizenship in Iran. Fotoohighiam’s attorney, Jon M. Roodhouse, said his bond was unprecedented for his crime, and the state should consider remote monitoring if they feared he would leave the country.

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