Two men accused of taping razor blades to playground equipment at Lakebottom Park were indicted Tuesday for first-degree arson.
Gary Bryan, 18, and Derrick Fullum, 24, are accused of setting fire to a vacant house at 1429 17th St. on April 9. A Muscogee County grand jury indicted each on a charge of first-degree arson, court records state.
Both were arrested the night of Sept. 27 on accusations they taped razor blades to playground equipment on the Lakebottom Park playground at the north end of the park. The blades were discovered May 11 by a 2-year-old boy. The child, who was uninjured, showed it to his mother, who took it to a nearby police officer. That officer found eight more box-cutter-type blades taped to various pieces of playground equipment.
Assistant District Attorney Don Kelly said the charges related to the Lakebottom case haven’t yet been presented to a grand jury, though they could reach that panel next week.
After their arrests, Police Chief Ricky Boren said they had admitted to placing the razors, saying the suspects called it a “party prank” and that one of the suspects said he “wanted to see how it would change the lives of people.”
The suspects also told officers about other times they had vandalized the park, Boren said.
The arson accusations came only days after their arrests.
Former Columbus Fire Marshal Thomas Streeter said at the time that the arson arrests came after a tip from the Columbus Police Department that the fires had been mentioned by the suspects during the razor blade investigation.
The pair also face first-degree arson and third-degree burglary charges in Alabama in connection with a April 17 fire at the Garner Chapel CME Church, 10 Old Opelika Road, according to Phenix City police Lt. George Staudinger.
Both Bryan and Fullum are being held at the Muscogee County Jail under no bond.