Purdie pleads not guilty to Woodgrains arson
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 13, 2001
Woodgrains Furniture owner Bryan Timothy Purdie, charged with two counts of arson and insurance fraud, entered a not guilty plea Wednesday.
Thursday, December 13, 2001
Woodgrains Furniture owner Bryan Timothy Purdie, charged with two counts of arson and insurance fraud, entered a not guilty plea Wednesday. A motion by the defense lawyer demanding the court to suppress evidence concerning an accelerant detector will be discussed in the next hearing scheduled on Jan. 4.
Email newsletter signup
According to the criminal complaint, Purdie set a fire in his shop at 310 South Broadway on Dec. 6 last year in an attempt to defraud his insurance company. He filed about a $ 240,000 loss in June of this year, but the insurance company denied the claim.
The court battle is likely to center around the alleged use of accelerant, which constitutes the first-degree arson charge.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory detected no ignitable liquid in the carpet sample taken from a presumable ignition area.
But the prosecutor intends to highlight a positive response by a combustible gas detector to establish the presence of accelerant at the scene, along with circumstantial evidence regarding the timeframe and pattern of burning.
Defense attorney Donald W. Savelkoul brought a motion to suppress all evidence relating to the detector.
In a memorandum in support of the motion, Savelkoul pointed out that the detector could respond any kind of gas released from melted plastic materials in the fire and does not prove the presence of accelerant.
Savelkoul was also concerned with a prejudice the evidence would incur.
&uot;The jury could be enticed into wrongfully relying on this inaccurate and illegitimate means to determine a cause of fire,&uot; he said.
In his public statement issued though the attorney Purdie said, &uot;I look forward to having all of the facts coming out though the court process. I trust that an impartial jury will be able to sort through the evidence and come to the right decision.&uot;