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Arson trial begins

Resident accused of setting fire to camp

September 11, 2012
By Jenny Lancour - staff writer ( , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Additional witness testimony is scheduled to take place today in Delta County Circuit Court where a Cornell man is being tried for arson of a camp on the Escanaba River nearly a year ago.

The trial of Richard Foy Arbour, 58, began Monday with selection of a seven-woman, five-man jury followed by opening statements from the defense and prosecution. Six witnesses were then called to the stand to testify. The trial is scheduled to continue into Wednesday.

Arbour is charged with arson of a dwelling, a felony which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison. He allegedly set on fire a camp on North River Road sometime between Oct. 2-3, 2011.

The structure suffered smoke damage and a hole burnt in a wall, according to an investigation by Michigan State Police from the Gladstone Post. The camp, owned by Tim Kobasic of Escanaba, was not insured.

Witnesses who testified in court on Monday included Kobasic and his son, Anthony Kobasic. State police who were called to the stand included Trooper Keith Carlson and Det. Matthew LaBonte. Also testifying Monday were Terry Royer, fire chief for Baldwin Township, and Dale Gatien, an employee of the Upper Peninsula Power Company.

Following investigation into the camp fire last fall, Arbour was arrested and lodged in jail. Shortly after, he posted bond and was released from police custody. Earlier this year, he underwent a competency examination and was found competent to stand trial.



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