First of two trials for Columbia man begins Monday
COLUMBIA - The first of two trials involving a Columbia man begins with jury selection on Monday.
Mehrdad Fotoohighiam, 64, faces charges of arson, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Monday's trial is over the arson charge; Fotoohighiam will be tried on the other charges at a later date.
Fotoohighiam is accused of paying someone to start a fire at a mobile home on Rock Quarry road in a property dispute. The man accused of setting that fire, James Hall, was acquitted in 2018.
Prosecutors later charged Fotoohighiam after he allegedly made plans while in jail to have his wife and the judge in his arson case killed. A judge ordered Fotoohighiam held in jail on no bond after prosecutors argued he had access to money which he might use to try and kill people involved in the case.
No date has been set for a trial on the attempted murder and conspiracy charges.