Nelson Co., VA- A Lovingston woman could be looking at more than a decade behind bars after a jury found her guilty of arson and larceny Wednesday. Linda Blackwell was facing seven charges total.
She was acquitted of a murder charge, along with a charge of arson for a fatal fire in 2009. Blackwell was convicted of two counts of arson from fires in 2012 and 2013. She was also convicted of two counts of larceny, and one count of attempted larceny from insurance companies Allstate and Liberty Mutual.
Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Martin, said this was really three cases rolled into one. He said the jury was one of the most attentive he's ever seen. Martin, along with the family of the victim in 2009's fatal fire, say they have accepted the jury's verdict.
"There's no winners in a case like this. The defendant's actions have created a lot of emotion not only for the Shelton family, but for her own family," said Martin.
"We'll all always have that hole there. But I've got to tell you, knowing the circumstances dealing with his death are over with now, we do have closure on that part," said James Shelton, Jr., who's father was killed in the 2009 fire.
The jury recommended five years in prison for each count of arson. They recommended five months, along with a $1,000 fine for each count of larceny. Blackwell's sentencing is set for May 27th.
BREAKING: The jury has returned a verdict of not guilty on the murder charge.
Linda Blackwell has been found guilty of two counts of larceny, one count of attempted larceny and two counts of arson.
Sentencing has been set for May. The jury has recommended a sentence of eleven years and three months as well as a $3000 fine.
UPDATE: Jury deliberations have started in Nelson Co. case of Linda Blackwell. She is facing charges of arson, larceny and felony murder.
Nelson Co., VA - The trial is underway in Nelson County for a woman charged with murder after a family friend died in a fire back in 2009, a fire that prosecutors say she set.
Linda Blackwell is also charged with arson in that fire that also injured her husband.
Blackwell, 58, pleaded not guilty to all seven charges she's facing.
Blackwell is accused of intentionally setting her home on fire three times to collect payouts from insurance companies.
The first fire in August of 2009 left her husband with severe burns, and killed family friend James Shelton.
Blackwell collected $475,000 from Allstate Insurance after that fire.
After rebuilding their home, the Blackwells then had a fire in their kitchen in 2012.
Wednesday Linda Blackwell's stepdaughter testified that she remembers Blackwell complaining about her kitchen, just before that fire.
Blackwell collected more than $300,000 from Liberty Mutual Insurance after the 2012 fire.
A claim of $125,000 from Liberty Mutual was denied after the third fire in 2013.
The trial is scheduled to last five days.
The jury is expected to hear from many witnesses, including several fire officials and inspectors, as well as Blackwell's husband.
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