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Arson trial to begin this week

Tuesday, August 15, 2006



A jury was selected Monday to hear evidence in the arson case against Samantha J. Bascom that will be presented in Clay County Superior Court this week.

Bascom, 46, of Coalmont, is on trial for her alleged involvement in a plan to burn down a home located at 6815 W. Public Road in Coalmont for insurance money in June 2004. She was selling the home on contract to a family member at the time of the fire.

Initially denying knowledge of the arson, Bascom admitted her part in the plot to Det. Sgt. Rob Gambill after two juveniles came forward with information that she tried to recruit one juvenile to burn down the home, and offered to provide the key to enter the home and the materials to start the fire to the other.

Hal Johnston, who is the chief deputy prosecutor of Knox County and experienced in arson trials, was appointed -- at the request of Clay County Prosecutor B. Lee Reberger -- as Special Prosecutor in the case by Judge Blaine Akers on October 2005.

Bascom was arrested and charged with one count of arson, a class B felony, in 2004; and had two counts of arson for hire, class B felonies; one count of fraud, a class D felony; and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, both class A misdemeanors, added to her charging information in August.

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