Strickland not guilty on all charges
A Franklin County jury acquitted a Red Bay man Thursday on arson and attempted murder charges.
Courtney Strickland, 23, of 100 Triplet Drive, was found not guilty after a two-day trial and several hours of deliberations.
Strickland was charged with arson, attempted murder, burglary, theft and criminal mischief in the May 18 fire at the home of Paul and Charlotte Borden in Belgreen while their son, David Borden, was asleep inside.
During the second day of testimony the jury heard nine witnesses testify on behalf of the defense, stating that Strickland was at a family function the day of the fire. The testimony rebutted the testimony of five non-relatives who placed Strickland at the fire including one witness who admitted driving him to set the house on fire.
The jury began deliberating at 10 a.m. yesterday, and verdict was announced around 3 p.m.
"I'm proud of the jury and their decision," defense attorney Rebecca Green-Thomason said. "We expect the investigation to continue in this case in order to find the people who did this awful thing to the Bordens."
Green said Strickland is willing to cooperate with investigators in order to find those responsible for this act.
District Attorney Joey Rushing said he is disappointed with the verdict but thanks the jury for their participation in the judicial process.
"I've never been more upset about losing a trial in my whole career," Rushing said. "I apologize to the victims for not getting the job done and will work harder next time to get a conviction."
Rushing added that arson cases are by nature difficult to get a conviction because there are rarely witnesses to the actual fire being set.
"Rebecca [Green-Thomason] did an excellent job in this case," Rushing said.