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Testimony Begins in Double Murder, Arson Trial

ALBIA, Iowa – Witness testimony is now underway in the trial of a man accused of intentionally setting a fire that killed his stepsister and her cousin.

Patrick Thompson is charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, and arson. He is accused of setting the Guthrie Center fire that killed his stepsister Paige Exline and her cousin Shakiah Cockerham last year.

The trial is being held in Monroe County. It was moved out of Guthrie County because of extensive media coverage and then out of Decatur County after a mistrial was called.

After two days of jury selection, witnesses began testifying Wednesday morning.

Thompson is alleged to have started the fire to cover up sexual abuse of Paige Exline by her father, James Exline, and her brother, Noah Exline.

James Exline is serving a 75 year sentence after being convicted of sexual abuse.

Noah Exline is being tried on sexual abuse charges on October 30th.