HOUSTON A man accused of setting fire to a popular north Houston furniture store is set to go to trial this week.

Robert Gillham is facing first degree arson charges in connection with the May 2009 fire at Gallery Furniture located in the 6000 block of North Fwy.

I think all of us here are pretty much ready for the trial to begin, let the justice take its course and we are ready to get this chapter behind us and move on to other things, said Gallery Furniture owner Jim Mattress Mack McIngvale.

The fire destroyed the store s 70,000 square foot warehouse and caused $25 million in damages.

The warehouse has since been rebuilt. Gillham, who McIngvale says could represent himself at trial, used to work at the furniture store.

The trial will be the first meeting between the two since the fire.

It s going to be difficult to think this person did this to cause so much pain to so many people, said McIngvale. McIngvale is scheduled to testify during the trial. About two dozen of his employees have been subpoenaed in the case. If Gillham goes forward with representing himself, he could cross-examine his former boss.

The whole thing with him has been bizarre, said McIngvale.

Jury selection is set for Tuesday. Calls to Gillham s original attorney were not returned.

Hopefully, there will be the right verdict. Whatever the court decides is the right verdict, so we are just going to go down there and tell our part of the story and let the jury decide which is the right way, the American way, said McIngvale.

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