Witness Testimony Continues in Patrick Thompson Murder, Arson Trial

Patrick Thompson (WHO-HD)

ALBIA, Iowa — The state of Iowa is calling more witnesses Thursday to testify against Patrick Thompson.

He is on trial, accused of setting a fire that killed his stepsister and her cousin. He’s charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and attempted murder and one count of arson.

In Wednesday’s opening statements the prosecution said Paige Exline had been placed with her grandmother Shirley Exline, to whom she disclosed years of sexual abuse by her father, James.

The prosecution said James Exline was a convicted sex offender already at that time and that he was facing enhanced penalties.

They claim that James had Patrick Thompson, his stepson, “silence” Paige.

“The defendant in this case, Patrick Thompson, who is Paige`s step-brother, who is James Exline`s stepson, Christine Exline`s biological son, took care of the problem, for James and Christine,” prosecutor Denise Timmins told the court. “He took care of the problem, by burning Shirley Exline`s house down to the ground.”

Thompson’s attorney Erica Nichols Cook countered, “Should two young girls have died in a fire? No. This is a tragedy, but Patrick is not the villain. You`re not going to hear evidence that Patrick was in Guthrie Center May 14th or May 15th.”

James Exline is serving a 75 year sentence for abusing Paige.

Noah Exline, Paige’s brother, goes on trial in October on charges he also abused the girl.