The final witnesses for the state are set to testify today in the arson trial of a Knox businessman. James Campbell is accused of setting fire to the buildings that housed his tire shop and recycling center at the corner of U.S. 35 and Toto Road last March. On Friday Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan indicated she plans to call three additional witnesses. The witnesses for the defense will testify tomorrow, and closing arguments are anticipated on Wednesday. Campbell is charged with arson as a Class A felony and faces between 20 and 50 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.
Testimony last week indicates Campbell was one of the last people to leave the business the day the fire started. The first smoke was visible on video from the business shortly after 5 p.m., and the fire department was notified at 5:17 p.m. Firefighters from several local departments spent hours battling the blaze, and one member of the Bass Lake Fire Department was injured. Campbell lives next door, but he was not home at the time. During an interview with a state fire investigator conducted a few days after the fire and played for the jury last week he said he was at Four Winds Casino and learned about the fire a few days later when he finally checked messages on his cell phone. Additional testimony from another investigator indicates there was no activity on Campbell’s player’s card at the casino during that time period. Proceedings resume today at 9 a.m.