Arson Trial Ends With Hung Jury


After nearly 12 hours of deliberation the jury in the arson trial of a Knox businessman was unable to reach a verdict. Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall declared a mistrial in State v. James Campbell at 12:14 a.m. due to the jury being an impasse and deadlocked. They began deliberations at 12:30 p.m.

The jurors had previously asked to view video footage not in evidence from Starke County Recycling and Campbell’s Tire Barn and Garage from the day of the March 20, 2014 fire. Specifically they wanted to see video of the area behind the shop and the front area of the business after smoke was more clearly visible. Firefighters from eight local departments spent several hours battling the blaze, which started just after 5 p.m. The jurors also wanted to listen again to testimony from Starke County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Kenny Pfost, who was the chief detective at the time of the fire. Court rules do not allow testimony to be replayed after proceedings conclude.

Campbell was arrested last March 28. Judge Hall notes the conditions of his bond still apply. He was ordered to surrender his passport after his arrest and is not allowed to leave the state. The case is still pending in Starke Circuit Court. Another status conference will be scheduled through staff for Campbell’s defense attorneys and the prosecutor’s office.