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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Columbus County teen surrounded by controversy is back in court.

It was almost two years ago when Allen “Frog” Strickland’s house went up in flames. Today he went on trial for arson and attempting to obtain property through false pretenses, an WWAY NewsChannel 3 was the TV station in the courtroom.

The prosecution says Strickland burned his home on purpose to collect money from his insurance company.

Jury selection began today. By the end of the day 12 jurors had been seated.

The judge also heard motions from both sides to see what evidence may be allowed in court. Some evidence, if allowed, would show that former state Sen. R.C. Soles paid for Strickland’s home. The prosecution believes that the case cannot even be described to the jury with out pointing this out. Strickland’s attorney, on the other hand, thinks it has nothing to do with the case.

“There’s a lot of history between Sen. Soles and Mr. Strickland,” Judge Gary Trawick said. “That’s not what this case is about, and we’re not going to go into… Things that are not are not going to come out in the evidence in this case.”

The judge did not rule either way on these motions. He said he would have to see any evidence or statements completely before making a decision. The discussion happened away from any of the possible jurors.

Attorneys will work to find two alternate jurors tomorrow.


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