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Gallery Furniture arson suspect found incompetent

HOUSTON — The man charged with starting the devastating fire at Gallery Furniture here nearly four years ago will likely never face trial, the Houston Chronicle is reporting.

An expert found former Gallery employee Robert Gillham, now 70, "incompetent and unlikely to regain competence and neither side is disputing that," Gillham's attorney told the newspaper.

Gillham has been in jail since being charged with the May 2009 fired that caused an estimated $20 million in damages to Gallery's flagship store and distribution center. During that time, he was on the verge of a trial twice and had a brain tumor removed, the report said. He has been unable to make bail that was set at $500,000 after he allegedly told a relative he planned to kill Gallery co-owner Jim McIngvale.

McIngvale told the Chronicle he was disappointed by the development, but wouldn't argue with the system. Gillham is expected to be committed and moved to a state mental hospital.


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