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Arson conviction draws 11 1/2-year sentence, restitution

Thursday, September 21, 2006

- More trials coming from Coalmont fire



Samantha Jean Bascom was sentenced to 11 1/2 years of real-time imprisonment and ordered to pay a total of $78,400 in restitution in Clay Superior Court Wednesday afternoon.

Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers sentenced Bascom without an option to suspend her sentence because of time already served or an option for probation.

The judge also ordered Bascom to pay $10,000 in restitution be paid to Keith and Dee Robertson (for what they lost in the fire) and the remaining $68,400 to be paid to State Farm Insurance Agency (for the loss of the modular home).

Special Prosecutor Hal Johnston said the judge's restitution order was equivalent to winning a large civil settlement against Bascom. The ruling makes Bascom responsible for paying the judgment no matter what her financial future is.

"With this ruling, if she wins the lottery (or receives any large sum of money) in the future, she will have to pay this first before collecting," Johnston said. "I'm very pleased with the judge's decision."

On Aug. 18, Bascom was convicted of conspiracy to commit arson for hire, arson for hire, fraud and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for her part in the arson-for-hire of a modular home located at 6815 W. Public Road, Coalmont, Ind., in June 2004.

Bascom will be turned over to the Indiana Department of Corrections' Reception and Diagnostic Center in Plainfield for inmate classification and placement in a women's facility someplace in Indiana, according to Johnston.

Bascom's mother, Bertha Bedwell, is scheduled to stand trial for her involvement in the arson next month. She will appear in the same court, have the same judge and the same special prosecutor as her daughter. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Oct. 23.

Bascom's son is scheduled to appear in Clay Circuit Court on juvenile charges for his involvement in the arson at a later date.

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