Bond to remain at $5 million for Columbia businessman

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ A Columbia businessman charged with hiring a man to set a fire will remain in jail on a $5 million cash-only bond.

A Boone County judge Friday ruled bond wouldn’t be reduced for 60-year-old Mehrdad Fotoohighiam, charged with first-degree arson. Prosecutors allege he paid a man $500 to set a trailer on fire because it was on land he wanted to expand his electrical engineering business. A woman in the mobile home suffered second-degree burns and carbon monoxide poisoning.

When officers tried to arrest him, Fotoohighiam hid in an attic during a nine-hour standoff.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports ( ) Fotoohighiam’s attorney argued the bond was excessive. The state contended the bond should be revoked because the businessman is wealthy and would likely flee to his native Iraq.