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Three arrested, make first court appearances for Carolina Mill fire

Three men were arrested Wednesday in connection with the November 25 fire that destroyed the vacant former Carolina Mill north of Burlington. The mill, at 2058 Carolina Mill Road, was engulfed in fire in the early morning hours of Saturday, November 25.

The arrests came following a tip earlier in the day from the community, according to the Alamance County sheriff’s office.  Sheriff Terry Johnson had offered a $2,000 reward for information on the fire at a press conference on Tuesday.

The fire and their cases are separate from one adult and three teenagers arrested for setting fire to the former Culp Mill in Graham and a house in Green Level on November 12 and 13, respectively. [See separate story in this edition:]

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The three men arrested are: James Cockman, white, male, 21, from 7922 Troxler Mill Road, Gibsonville; Leyton James Lockemy, white, male, 20, from 341 Kim King Road, Burlington; and William Steven Holland, white, male, 20, from 223 Circle Drive, Gibsonville.

James Cockman
William Steven Holland
Leyton James Lockemy

Each has been charged with one felony count of breaking and entering and a separate felony count for burning a building.

Cockman is being held under a $60,000 secured bond; Lockemy and Holland had been held under $25,000 bonds, each.

Each of the men was in district court Thursday afternoon.  Lockemy and Holland had posted their bond and hired their own attorney.

Cockman was still in custody and handcuffs, wearing his jail uniform, when he appeared before district court judge Larry Brown to seek a court-appointed attorney.

James Cockman of Gibsonville in district court Thursday afternoon
Leyton James Lockemy in Alamance County district court Thursday afternoon when conditions for his and the co-defendants’ bond were set by district court judge Larry Brown.

Cockman’s tearful mother tried to ask from her courtroom seat in the audience why her son’s bond had been set so much higher than the other two men.  Judge Brown said the levels had originally been determined by the magistrate.

Cockman was described as a Western High School graduate who had no convictions and no pending criminal charges.

Later, when he confirmed Cockman’s bond, Brown read from the magistrate’s report who had assessed that Cockman presented a “dangerous situation for the community,” as well as potential danger to both law enforcement and the public.

Brown set the same conditions for each while out on bond, or in Cockman’s case if he is able to post a bond: that they not have any contact whatsoever – neither in person, by phone, by social media, internet, mail, nor through third parties – with their co-defendants; that they not possess a firearm; not return to within 500 feet of the crime scene; and set curfews for each to remain at their principal residence between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.– unless it were to go to a job “paying W-2 wages.”

For Cockman, the judge also authorized him to be screened for potential electronic monitoring if he is able to post bond.

Brown named Erica Bluford as Cockman’s court-appointed attorney.

Holland, who had been in court earlier in the afternoon (court began at 2:00), was represented by attorney Brad Buchanan, who noted when the case was called near 4:00 that his client needed to get to work by 3:00 that afternoon and had signed all the necessary paperwork.

All three were given a next court date of December 20.


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