Evidence use discussed in Nelson County murder, arson case

  • Source: Charlottesville Daily Progress
  • Published: 01/28/2014 08:41 PM

Attorneys on Tuesday argued what evidence would be used in the case against a Nelson County woman charged with murder and arson. The case against Linda Campbell Blackwell, 58, of Lovingston, is set for trial March 4. She is charged with murder, obtaining money by false pretenses and arson in connection with an Aug. 2, 2009, fire that resulted in the death of James Shelton Sr. She also faces two charges each of arson and obtaining money by false pretenses in connection with two other house fires on the same property on Creekview Lane in Lovingston in February 2012 and May 2013. At Tuesday’s hearing, Judge J. Michael Gamble ruled that evidence regarding the statistical probability of fire would not be allowed. It would be “challenging,” he said, to allow the expert’s opinion be used as proof in the case. Blackwell’s attorney, Paul Valois filed a motion Oct. 28 that claimed a defective dishwasher caused the 2012 fire. Martin asked the court that only evidence related to Blackwell’s particular dishwasher be permitted, as opposed to generic statistics related to dishwasher recalls and fires. Gamble ruled in favor of Martin.


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