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Woman accused of arson in D'Iberville apartment fire released from jail

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BILOXI, Mississippi — The woman accused of burning down a D'Iberville apartment building has been released from jail after her $2 million bond was reduced to $200,000.

Circuit Judge Roger Clark lowered the bond for 26-year-old Krystal Gonzalez on Thursday.

Gonzalez is accused of setting a March 4 fire that destroyed a 20-unit building at Arbor View apartments. It displaced 40 residents.

Clark said he is aware of public outrage associated with the case and the bond issue.

"There appears to be quite a misconception," Clark said.

"The Supreme Court of Mississippi has set out guidelines and factors to assist in setting bond," Clark said. "The factors the court has to consider do not include the volume of the destruction of property. This hearing is not about guilt or innocence. It has nothing to do with the merits of the case. That is for a jury to determine at a later date."

Gonzalez "has absolutely no criminal history," and witnesses have testified she is industrious and reliable and is likely to make her court appearances, Clark said.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1er58Yw ) the judge said he will leave it up to Gonzalez' bonding company on whether she is able to leave the state pending resolution of the case.

Her attorney, Michael Crosby, said she will remain in South Mississippi a while to assist him in preparing for her defense in case she is indicted.

Gonzalez maintains she did not intentionally set the fire. She has testified her dogs perished and she lost $4,000 and her belongings as well.

Crosby had argued $2 million was excessive bail. He mentioned the recent $300,000 bond set for an ex-Long Beach police officer accused of having sex with a minor, and asked the judge for a fair bond.

"Certainly, we don't want an excessive bail to be set," Assistant District Attorney Beth McFadyen said.

Clark said reducing Gonzalez' bond is not intended to criticize the justice court judge who set the initial bond. Bonds set before an arrest often are reduced after an initial court appearance. Crosby asked for a hearing from a higher court, saying he did not believe a lower-court judge would reduce it.


Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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