Marion County murder and arson trial starts

MARION COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — A trial is underway in Marion County for a woman accused of killing a pawn shop owner and setting the building on fire.

In the first day of trial for Angela Kilgore, jury members heard from several different witnesses.

She faces murder and arson charges.

In May of 2016, firefighter were called to the Valley Pawn Brokers on Highway 28 in Whitwell.

They discovered the body of the owner, Jerry Ridge, inside. Investigators say Kilgore robbed the shop, killed Ridge, and the set the fire to cover up the crime.

On Tuesday at her trial, Jimmy Rogers who works at a nearby business, took the stand. He says police asked him to look through surveillance video to see if there was a red truck. Rogers didn’t see it, but later that night the truck pulled into his store. He says Kilgore got out and asked him about the fire.

“I think I said, ‘Yeah there is a fire at the pawn shop.'”

“And what did she say about that?” a prosecutor asked.

“She said, ‘Oh, really.’ I said, “‘Yeah, I think he may be in it.’ She said, ‘Oh really,'” Rogers recalled.

Investigators with the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office brought in a K9, who is trained to detect fire accelerants.

“Leo had a change of behavior in several areas in the scene in several areas, particularly though we focused around the body,” Special Agent Daniel Foster said.

Agent Darby Hutchison, with the TBI, testified, saying they always look for anything that could’ve accidentally started a fire.

“In this case there was nothing that we could see on Mr. Ridge’s body or immediately surrounding his body. Behind the metal desk there was one electrical outlet, which was taken out of the wall and examined. And there was no evidence that it had malfunctioned or there was no evidence that it had anything to do with starting the fire,” Agent Hutchison said.

She says they concluded this was arson.

The trial will start up again on Wednesday morning.

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