AP NEWS

Washington state woman acquitted of setting house fire

February 5, 2020 GMT

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — Jurors in Washington state acquitted a woman of starting a fire that destroyed her rental home and killed her dog on Thanksgiving day.

Samantha Michelle Staub, 24, was on trial in Kitsap County Superior Court for first-degree arson for the Nov. 24, 2016, fire, The Kitsap Sun reported Tuesday.

Staub purposely started a fire on a couch that spread to the rest of the house in the Manette section of Bremerton, prosecutors said.

The acquittal avoids a possible sentence for Staub of 21 to 27 months in prison.

Staub was drinking and used a knife to stab the couch, believing it would release the emotions she felt after suspecting her husband was unfaithful, prosecutors said.

Staub then doused the couch with lighter fluid and set it on fire, prosecutors said.

Her husband was not home at the time of the fire.

Defense attorney Ken Kagan said the fire was an accident that occurred when Staub stumbled while trying to use a propane torch to light a cigarette.