Strickland arson retrial begins
frogarson300.jpg

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A former client and friend of Senator R.C. Soles was back in a Columbus County courtroom today. Allen 'Frog' Strickland is accused of burning his own home and then trying to collect from his insurance company.

More than 50 people were called forward for jury duty Monday to see who would be selected to take part in the arson retrial. Most of the potential jury questioned by Judge Gary Trawick were familiar with Strickland's arson case. They were also aware of his friendship with Senator Soles.

In 2009 Strickland was accused of burning his own home, which Soles bought; as part of an agreement that the young man would finish school. Despite this connection Judge Trawick told the potential jurors to avoid their friendship.

"This is not about the young man's alleged interaction with Senator Soles," said Trawick. "It's about if he burned his home."

Even with those instructions three potential jurors admitted to the court that they would not be able to avoid what they heard from the media and the public pertaining to Soles and Strickland's interaction with one another.

One potential male juror spoke out in disgust saying he would not be able to be impartial to Strickland.

"There are some things so nasty, I'm going to be honest with you I don't think I can do it," the potential juror said.

This man and the two other jurors were released. In the end 12 jurors along with one alternate were selected. Outside the presence of the jury Judge Trawick also heard motions from the defense and prosecution on Monday afternoon. The main topic of discussion, a recording with Strickland found midway the first trial. This prompted the ruling of a mistrial in April. Strickland's defense attorney wanted the recording to not be entered this time around but the prosecution asked the judge that it be considered. Judge Trawick told the court the recording could both help and hurt Strickland's case. In the end the judge said if the defense does not reference it at all in their argument he will not allow the prosecution to use it either.

The trial resumes Tuesday morning.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

John David is a joke and so is the DA (dumbass) district attorney at the Columbus County courthouse......they're barking up the wrong tree and need to jump off a clif!!!!

this time around. The Judge has ruled the Prosecution may not use the "tape recording"; only the Defense may; and the Defense Attorney is not likely to do so.

This should be pretty straight forward.

Did he set the fire or not; typically arson is pretty easy to confirm. So the issue then becomes one of tying him to the flash points if arson is the case. OR, did he forget and leave something cooking on the stove which ignited?

If he intentionally set the fire, did he do so with the intent to defraud the insurance company? It was reported the property had no mortgage; so its not as though he was trying to avoid foreclosure.

And how would he collect from the Insurance Company? Fire losses are typically paid to the contractor which performs the repairs. Normally, the Named Insured, and I assume that is Frog, would only collect for lost personal property. From a practical standpoint, if he needed to raise cash, why not sell his former Corvette or hold a yard sale?

Of the 2 apparent issues, the second is likely going to be the more challenging.

So, it would not appear there will be much drama associated with this one.

Ramone -- you may need to carry and wear that hat you were sporting the other day during the 6:00 morning hour to give Columbus County residents some street entertainment.

I think the two doughnut eaters that caused the mistrial and Jon David ought to be made to pay the taxpayers back all the money they cost us cost us taxpayers. Something $TINKS$ in the DA's office!They are on a "witch hunt" at taxpayer's expense.