Jurors in arson case sent home because of weather

January 28, 1994|By Staff Report

A jury weighing the case of a Westminster man charged with setting fire to his house in March was sent home yesterday after about 5 1/2 hours of deliberation.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. sent the panel home about 5:25 p.m., citing inclement weather.

The seven men and five women were scheduled to resume their work at 10 a.m. today.

They are considering the case of Charles Amidee Stair Jr., 44, who was charged with arson and reckless endangerment a week after a fire on March 17 that caused more than $50,000 in damage to a 90-year-old restored house at 152 W. Main St.

The $150,000 house was owned by Mr. Stair and Sally J. Stair, who were getting a divorce.

Mr. Stair has denied setting the fire.

Judge Burns said the jury had polled itself several times yesterday but had been unable to reach a unanimous decision on either count.

The trial began Monday, and the jurors began their deliberations shortly after noon yesterday.

About 3 p.m., jurors filed back into the courtroom to listen to a playback of the testimony of a defense witness, a manager of the Westminster McDonald's restaurant.

The defense had argued that Mr. Stair's movements on March 17, including a stop at the fast-food restaurant, would have placed him away from the fire scene at the time the fire is alleged to have been set.

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