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Hearing held for three suspects in Wendy's arson where police killed Rayshard Brooks

All three ended up waiving their arraignments, which typically means a lawyer will enter a not guilty plea on their behalf.

ATLANTA — There are new developments in the arson investigation surrounding the burning of an Atlanta Wendy's where the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks took place.

A hearing was scheduled Friday morning for the three people charged for their alleged roles in the fire. All suspects ended up waiving their arraignments, which typically means a lawyer will enter a not guilty plea on their behalf.

Back in January, John Wade, Natalie White and Chisom Kingston were indicted for setting fire to a Wendy's on University Avenue back in 2020. They are accused of endangering lives by burning down the fast food restaurant where police shot and killed 27-year-old Brooks.

They face two counts of arson in the first-degree and one count of conspiracy to commit arson in the first-degree. 

Credit: Fulton County
Left to right: Natalie White, John Wesley Wade, Chisom Kingston

Only Kingston and his attorney appeared before the judge Friday via Zoom.

White was given a $10,000 bond during her first court appearance back in June of 2020. She posted bond and left jail to go home to a house arrest order, where she had to wear an ankle monitor and wasn't allowed to use social media. White's attorney Drew Findling insisted she was part of the protest, but did not set the fire. 

"Video shows you not only Natalie, but the scores of other people that were involved," Findling said. 

Soon after White's arrest, Wade and Kingston were also arrested in connection with the fire.

In July of 2020, Kingston was also granted a $10,000 bond, released and had to wear an ankle monitor. Meanwhile, Wade was granted a $10,000 bond in a court hearing, which he waived. He was also required to wear an ankle monitor, have no contact with other co-defendants and he had to stay away from Wendy's – what was left of it. 

From the first, small flames, to the end of the fire, witnesses were unknowingly already helping arson investigators by posting videos of potential suspects on social media. According to the Grand Jury indictment, Wade, White and Kingston are accused of working together and conspiring with each other. At least one of them is accused of igniting several fires to burn down the building. 

Previously, investigators said they expected to make more arrests.

11Alive reached out to Fulton County DA Fani Willis' office for comment following the hearing and will update this story with any further details.

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