Guthrie Center Murder, Arson Trial Delayed to September

Patrick Thompson (WHO-HD)

GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa – The trial of an Ames man accused of intentionally setting a fire that killed his stepsister and her cousin has been delayed.

Patrick Thompson is charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of arson. He was arrested in connection with a May 15, 2017 fire in Guthrie Center that killed 12-year-old Paige Exline and 16-year-old Shakiah Cockerham. Paige was Thompson’s stepsister.

Injured in the fire were the girls’ grandmother and uncle.

A judge had already ruled to move Thompson’s trial out of Guthrie County because of pre-trial publicity. The case was originally scheduled to be heard on May 8th, but has now been rescheduled for September 17th. The location of the trial has not yet been determined.

Paige Exline’s father James Exline, who is Thompson’s stepfather, is charged with sexually abusing Paige. A mistrial was declared during jury selection of his first trial in October of 2017, and a new date for the case to be heard is still being scheduled.

Noah Exline, James Exline’s son and Paige’s brother, also faces charges for allegedly sexually abusing Paige. His trial is scheduled for April 3rd.