Asheville Fireplace Division (Photograph: Citizen-Occasions File Photograph)
ASHEVILLE – A former metropolis firefighter is now going through formal fees in reference to the burning of an activist’s automobile that occurred earlier this yr.
John Thomas Eldreth, 46, was indicted Aug. 5 by a Buncombe County grand jury on a single cost of burning private property.
The indictment states Eldreth “wantonly set fireplace” to a 2003 Toyota Celica on Jan. 12 “with the intent to injure or prejudice” its proprietor, Jonathan Christopher Wainscott.
Wainscott is a neighborhood activist and previous Metropolis Council candidate. He additionally ran for mayor in 2017 in opposition to incumbent Esther Manheimer.
Eldreth was arrested March 15. He was fired from the Asheville Fireplace Division, the place he had labored for greater than 20 years, on March 25 following a departmental investigation.
Extra: Asheville firefighter arrested, charged with felony burning private property
In Eldreth’s dismissal letter — obtained earlier this yr by the Citizen Occasions — Fireplace Chief Scott Burnette stated a search warrant of Eldreth’s Google historical past revealed he had performed a number of queries for “the best way to make a Molotov cocktail” together with Wainscott’s deal with within the time previous the fireplace.
Eldreth’s legal professional, Tony E. Rollman, stated in Could that Eldreth “maintains his innocence,” however didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark Aug. 13.
Affidavit: Eldreth spoke of ‘vigilante justice’
Eldreth joined AFD as a trainee in 1996, in line with his public personnel document. He was promoted in 2012 from engineer to lieutenant. On Jan. 31, he was positioned on investigative suspension, his file signifies.
In keeping with investigators in a March 22 affidavit for a search warrant, Wainscott’s neighbor advised Eldreth she and Wainscott have been concerned in a longtime dispute.
Eldreth advised the neighbor he’s a believer in “vigilante justice,” that he doesn’t like “bullies” and that “issues can occur to individuals and nobody would discover out,” in line with the affidavit.
A second individual advised investigators that Eldreth directed him on a later date to inform Wainscott’s neighbor “she would not have to fret about him anymore,” the doc stated.
The affidavit additionally described a report from a girl who stated Eldreth got here to her residence “extremely intoxicated” Jan. 13 and admitted to burning the automobile.
Different run-ins with regulation enforcement
Following his March arrest, Eldreth was launched on an unsecured bond of $10,000.
Since then, he has had run-ins with regulation enforcement elsewhere, in line with state court docket data.
On July 7, Eldreth was charged with misdemeanor carrying a hid gun in Jackson County. On July 31, he acquired a site visitors quotation in Henderson County for an expired registration tag and expired inspection.
His subsequent Buncombe County court docket date has not but been set.
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