FIRST ON 3: Jury says Strickland not guilty of arson
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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- A Columbus County jury says a teen with ties to former Sen. R.C. Soles is not guilty. It did not take long for jurors to acquit Allen "Frog" Strickland on charges of arson and trying to rip off his insurance company.

Despite a strong closing argument by the prosecution it took the jury less than an hour before finding Strickland not guilty of arson and trying to collect money from his insurance company.

Strickland's home in Tabor City caught fire in July 2009. An investigation soon pointed to arson. The state claimed the teen started the blaze. He was also accused of trying to collect from his insurance company.

Thursday afternoon a jury of eight women and four men found the teen not guilty of arson and attempting to collect property through false pretenses. While the jury deliberated Strickland appeared to show no emotion...

Strickland's attorney Craig Wright had no comment as well, even after the verdict of not guilty.

There were no smiles for the prosecution, but they say they accept the jury's decision.

"Whatever the 12 people of the community say, that's what we abide by," Assistant District Attorney Fred Gore said. "I think justice has been done today regardless of what decision was made. The state did its job presenting its case to members of the community. They decided the case, and we stand by their decision."

In closing arguments the prosecution told the jury that Strickland was the only one inside the home and that no one else could have poured the gasoline found on the sofa in teen's living room. Arson investigators testified that the fire started on the center cushion of the sofa.

The defense claimed someone could have thrown the gas through a window near the sofa. Strickland told investigators that people around Tabor City were jealous of him.

"This whole town is jealous of how I got the house, how I got my car, how I got money and all. Everybody just can't stand it." Strickland said the day after the fire. "Whoever done it done it with the intentions of me getting killed."

He got the house from Soles, who bought it to encourage Strickland to stay in school.

WWAY caught up with one of the jurors, who said she and the other members of the jury just thought the evidence showed that Strickland was not guilty.

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Well the welcome home Frog BBQ last nite was a flop, couldn't find anybody with the nerve to light the match for the charcoal........

HAHA! You should've invitied Doris and Ronnie...... between the two, somebody would've lit it!

Looks like a trailer with a chalet roof added. Regardless of taste RC certainly treats his *boys* well.

Hey Jon David, give it up pal, you're a loser!!!!

Why?

Someone argued the arm damage was the direct result of trying to set the fire. That would have been easy to prove or disprove. Did not see it mentioned.

No one saw him set the fire. Did they even discover traces of gasoline odor on his body? Did they find his fingerprints on the gasoline can discovered in the nearby garage?

Did he file a claim for insurance? If he did not, then what crime did he commit? Was his insurance agent even called to testify?

If you own property free and clear; if you do not file a claim for damages; if you do not harm others or their property, then what crime have you committed? Stupid? Yes; Crimminal intent? Not likely.

So now, go find something else to focus on for your gossip and summer entertainment when standing on the streets of Tabor City.

Frog may have the last laugh if he is the heir to the Senator's estte.

Both cases show how poor our legal system works.

You are right. It allowed Floridian Jon to try someone twice and waste a bunch of time and money,and also set a killer free in Orlando.

Now that "Frog" has been found not guilty lets see what old Chad Adams (the local loudmouth on 93.7FM) has to say about this tomorrow morning. He was so sure that Frog would be found guilty until he was just besides himself. Gooooo Frog!!!!

I bet it won't be 6 months before this clown will be back in jail just for being stupid. R.C. Soles and this fool deserve each other. Maybe they should get married.

Corvettes, Mercedes Benz, money, houses, 4-wheelers, jet skies, trucks,etc. All paid for. It appears he's not stupid.

Maybe they should and we could let Sibbett and Dallas be the bridesmaids and Jeffrey Bell be the ring bearer. Those fools shouldn't be left out and everybody in Columbus County knows by now how they love attention.

Well the Frog trial is over, I guess David can now turn his cross hairs back towards the Honorable Judge Jolly and waste more time and taxpayers money on that subject. He sure loves to see his self on tv. Maybe he could co-host Judge Judy!!!

What a joke the people of Brunswick, Bladen, and Columbus counties have elected as District Attorney! Maybe our District Attorney will learn that cases are won in the court room and not on TV.

Ha ha ha! Wow this office is worse that Rex Gore & I really didn't think that was possible. First the Danny Thomas verdict, getting life when he was already serving life. Then this...dude go back to Florida.

Tabor City was rooting for you Frog!!!!! (just because the damn cops hate you so much and we hate them!) Congrats!!!!

If anybody ever tries to commit any crime against you, don't bother calling 911.

You right Guesty because from what i gather they are probably at your apartment.

.......so that's where they are? hmmnnn?

I would welcome the police to my residence, a place to cool off, use the restroom and not have to worry about cop haters like yourself.

Just for your info Guesty, I dont hate cops at all.....Just the Tabor City ones! Thanks for your input though, you're keeping the conversation going!

Well Jon David Frog can change his personalized tag from ALLEN 1 to ALLEN WON!

That ratty "mustache" creeps me out, if you can't grow a good one shave it off.

Why won't this band of idiots go away for good? How much taxpayer money has been wasted on these fools?

You and your assistant DA'S should be ashamed of the fact that there are so many teachers in Columbus County and this state that have lost their jobs because of the economy but you just trying to win your political power had to have another trial for Frog. And now you lost as you should have and so you and your possy need to pack up and take your slack behinds back to Brunswick County. Better yet, go back to Florida. You definitely belong there!!!

It was the people of Columbus County who failed (the jurors). The DA'a office presented a good case. The defense had the community on there side since the jurors where local, and they made a decent argument also. For whatever reason, be it political, or the romance of a celebrity like Frog ( who is like a loved outlaw) in Tabor City, they let this crap continue.

Seriously though, gas thrown threw a window lands in a perfect area in the middle of the couch without being splattered all over the place. Come on Columbus County Jurors maybe y'all need to go to Florida instead of sending Jon David back.

I will agree that the leadership in law enforcement in Columbus County needs to change.

How did the Jurors fail us? Everyone has their own opinion about what happened and you too are entitled to yours, but how do you know the gas wasn't splattered all over the place and majority of it didn't land on the couch? None of us were there that night, but Frog and whoever may have burned his house so we really don't know, but the jury made their decision based on the evidence that was in front of them and just for your records (in case you missed it on the news) EVERYBODY in Tabor City is jealous of Frog and all he has anyway!

...that one or two of the jurors likely received as soon as they were chosen. They'll be a couple of new Silverados on the road soon!

BTW, I'm not sure I'd be jealous of anyone who has had to do what "Frog" did to receive all those wonderful gifts. (...and everyone in Tabor City knows THAT, too!)

The cost I am sure was outrageous!! What is it going to take for lawmakers to stop this nonsense. There are cuts being made in the state, county, and city school systems because there is not money to fund them. But money can be wasted on idiots like this. I know the law states he is entitled to a fair trial, but how much more money will be spent on the R.C. saga? Strickland stated that there were funds given to about 30 other people so I am sure the story does not end here. MORE WASTED TAXPAYER MONEY!!!!