Fire Destroys Apartment of Convicted Defendant in Coca-Cola Secrets Theft Trial

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Authorities and the defendant's lawyer said a fire destroyed several units at the apartment complex of a former Coca-Cola secretary convicted today of conspiring to steal trade secrets from the beverage giant.

The fire at the Hunters Pointe apartment complex in Norcross, a suburb of Atlanta, happened about 1:48 p-m, a little more than an hour after the guilty verdict was read against Joya Williams in federal court.

Lieutenant Thomas Rutledge of the Gwinnett County Fire Department said four units in one building of the apartment complex sustained heavy fire damage. He said there were no reported injuries. Another six units suffered significant heat and water damage.

One of the units that suffered heavy fire damage, according to a Fire Department news release, was the same unit number listed to Williams. Her apartment information was detailed during her trial.

It wasn't immediately clear if Williams was home at the time of the fire. Her attorney, Janice Singer, said she was trying to reach her late today. Singer said her client's apartment was destroyed in the fire.

The address where the fire was first reported apparently was a nearby apartment unit to Williams' in the same building of the complex where the fire occurred. The Fire Department said it did not know which unit the fire started in, whether the fire was intentionally set or what caused the fire.

The lawyer added she is unsure where the fire started.

Singer said the lead FBI agent in the Coca-Cola case, Jerry Reichard, went to the apartment complex after the fire was reported. Reichard declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press on his cell phone.