Jury Out on Nelson Woman Accused of Murder, Arson - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Jury Out on Nelson Woman Accused of Murder, Arson

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A jury is deciding the fate of a woman accused of setting a house fire five years ago that killed a man.

Linda Blackwell is charged with arson, murder and obtaining money by false pretenses. Closing arguments finished up Tuesday and the jury will return Wednesday to deliberate.

The defense says the prosecution is trying to make Blackwell look like, in his own words, “the James Bond arsonist of Nelson County.”

In the past five years there have been three fires at Blackwell's homes and two smaller incidents. The prosecution says Blackwell set the fires on purpose to cash in on insurance money.

Tuesday in closing arguments, the prosecution focused on how Blackwell responded to the deadly 2009 fire. He says instead of getting her loved ones out of the house or calling 911, she left her husband and family friend inside, got in her car and drove to the dispatch office. He says this was all a ploy to delay fire department response times and let the home burn.

He also mentioned when dispatchers asked for Blackwell's address that she wouldn't give it to them - and just kept saying it's down the street.

The defense says the samples taken by investigators after the fire were done under “unscientific conditions” and there was no evidence of kerosene or proof Blackwell started the fires.

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