Lake Christine fire arson trials set for spring in Eagle County
EAGLE — The pair accused of sparking the Lake Christine fire July 3 in Eagle County pleaded not guilty on Wednesday and will take their chances at trial in the spring.
El Jebel residents Richard Miller and Allison Marcus, both 23, were allegedly at a public shooting range near Basalt firing illegal tracer rounds shortly before 6 p.m. July 3. Marcus told authorities she “caused it and was sorry,” according to an affidavit.
Miller and Marcus each face three charges of fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony, and setting fire to woods or prairie, a Class 6 felony. They are free on a $7,500 bond each.
Jury selection is expected to take longer than usual, because finding Eagle County jurors who have no connection with the case could be difficult, Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum said.
Attorneys differed on whether a jury should hear the two cases at the same time. Those issues, among others, will be sorted out during a March 15 motions hearing, Eagle County District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman said.
Miller and Marcus could still enter a different plea after the motions hearing, Dunkelman ruled Wednesday morning. They’ll discuss that on March 15, along with possible restitution for damages caused by the fire.
“Restitution is a huge issue in the case,” Dunkelman said.
The fire burned more than 12,500 acres on state, federal and private land, and it destroyed three houses.
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