Testimony starts in Strickland's arson trial
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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- The jury has been seated, and today the first witnesses took the stand in the arson case of Allen "Frog" Strickland. The teen is a former client and friend of former state Sen. R.C. Soles.

The prosecution says Strickland set fire in 2009 to his own home, which Soles bought, in order to collect insurance money.

There were no cameras allowed in the courtroom on day two, which started with two alternate jurors being seated. Opening statements quickly followed.

District Attorney Lynn Wilkie told the jury of nine women and five men, "You will be presented evidence from experts that the fire started inside the house and that he (Strickland) was the only one inside."

Strickland's attorney Craig Wright told the jury in his opening statement that evidence will show why it is not logical for Strickland to burn his home.

After opening statements, the jury heard from a former Tabor City Police officer and two Tabor City volunteer firefighters, who responded to the burning home.

Firefighter Ryland Browder told the jury the front door of the home was engulfed in flames.

"The only thing I could see through the door, 'cause it was dark, is that the fire was inside the home," Browder said.

Firefighter Tommy Lee Spivey told jurors he and another colleague were the first to enter the home with a fire hose. When they climbed to the second floor Spivey said he was confused by the bed in the room.

"Bed was made, like when you wake up in the morning time," he said.

Strickland claims he was asleep in that bed and was awakened by smoke the night of the fire. Spivey also said he smelled gasoline in the home.

Jurors also heard from a 911 operator who answered the emergency call from strickland. They also heard the call itself.

The trial resumes tomorrow morning.

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All of the rediculous and silly comments posted in response to this story about purses and pictures of Allen Strickland and insinuations with sexual overtones just prove the point that R.C. Soles and his group of cronies have made Columbus County the laughing stock of the region. This is an arson trial and it is serious business. I am glad that the new DA and the ADA handling the case are taking the problems in Columbus County seriously and trying to regain a sense of justice and fairness instead of just catering to the good old boys way of doing things that has been in place too long. If they keep shining a light on all of this deep-seeded corruption, maybe Columbus County will eventually get the respect and legitimacy back that it deserves.

He could always claim he didn't intentionally state the fire, he just had a burning desire to see his sugar daddy.

The news need to get their facts straight. The boy is not guilty at all. This county and law enforcement are wasting taxpayers dollars going after him. O and next time one of you reporters slaps my dad as he is walking out the courthouse, you will have a lawsuit, but I bet you won't put that on the news tonight!

From the story: "Strickland's attorney Craig Wright told the jury in his opening statement that evidence will show why it is not logical for Strickland to burn his home."

Other than when frog hooked up with his sugar daddy, what has he ever done that involved any type of logic?

Tell it right. The 911 dvd was not heard today. Sorry no new photos of Allen. Move on to Chadbourn.

What on earth is that shiney, green and orange fabric on a frame doing between Frog (Froggie to his fans) and the camera? Inquiring minds want to know.

The object looks to be his handbag.

Maybe a certain elderly former state senator will bum-rush the courtroom from the rear entrance at the end of the trial and burst out with "Your honor! The only fire this young man is guilty of setting... is the one he set in my heart!"

We want to see a photo of Frog. We--Columbus County Chapter of the Frog Strickland Fan Club--hear he's got a hair cut and shaved his darling mustache. He's a cutie and a sweetie, and we're all pulling for him.

Are you serious? I am hoping that you are being sarcastic and are not just drunk or stupid! Columbus County needs to get rid of Allen Strickland and everyone in that corrupt circle that associates with him and I think this new DA and his assistants are doing a great job so far. Keep it up Mr. David and Ms. Wilkie!

Getting rid of Allen will not help. You need to get rid of RC. Then the next generation of young men in CC might have a chance.

The people and law enforcement in this county need to find something else to do rather than go after this boy. He didn't do anything and just as soon as he is given a NOT GUILTY verdict, all of his accusers are going to look ridiculous!!!

Its a composition book for the over aggressive cameraman.

Get your story straight. The 911 call was not heard today. Also sorry no photos.

If so, I'm not sure that Frog will appreciate your admiration.

Plus, I believe that Creepy Old Guy has exclusive pulling rights.