The woman accused of starting the massive fire at the Arbor View Apartments last month in D'Iberville was set to appear in court Monday. She is charged with first degree arson, which carries a penalty of 5 to 20 years in the state penitentiary. Gonzalez has no felony record and her defense attorney, Michael Crosby, says she has cooperated with authorities thus far, making her $2 million bond excessive. Krystal Gonzalez's friends and family are speaking up on her behalf as she continues her legal journey. Her attorney has given News 25 a series of letters from the accused arsonist's loved ones, all hoping she will be out on bond soon.
Than Nguyen, the owner of Venues Ultra Lounge and Grill, says, "I was just trying to give her support because she's been good to me for the last three years." Nguyen owns Venues Ultra Lounge and Grill in Biloxi where accused D'Iberville arsonist, Krystal Gonzalez, worked as a bartender. He describes her as a trusted employee. Nguyen also says, "I started trusting her. I let her run the whole bar by herself at nighttime. I would go home early and she would take care of everything for me." Monday, Gonzalez's attorney, Michael Crosby, hopes to lower her $2,000,000 bond.
Attorney, Scott Pietrowski, does not represent Gonzalez, but weighed in on this legal matter. Pietrowski says, "Council for Miss Gonzalez feels that because it is such a large bond that it is essentially no bond at all, because she has no ability to make that bond." Crosby says the bond is too high for the client that he says is not a flight risk and is a good person, and he's hoping these letters from Gonzalez's friends and family will help prove it. Pietrowski also says, "They are important and have tremendous impact. There is really no other way to convey this message to the court oftentimes."
Letters of recommendation also played a role when former Jackson County Sheriff, Mike Byrd, faced federal charges last month. Judge William Steele said he read 50 letters written on behalf of the former Sheriff. He said those letters helped him go along with the recommended sentence. As for Gonzalez, friends and family can only hope that their letters will have an impact.
Nguyen closes, "Everybody say this, says that. What I do know is that when she worked for me, she did a good job. That's why I’m coming today to support her." Gonzalez's family and friends hope that a lowered bond would help get her out of the Harrison County Jail as she awaits trial.