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Fire Investigation Still Focus of Patrick Thompson’s Defense

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ALBIA, Iowa  --  The second day of testimony in the First Degree Murder trial of Patrick Thompson again focused on how the fire that killed Paige Exline and Shakiah Cockerham in 2017 started.

Patrick Thompson is accused of setting the fire which killed the two girls, including his stepsister Paige, and injured two others.  Milchael Lillebo from the State Fire Marshall's Office walked the jury through photo exhibits and pointed out evidence investigators used to reach their conclusion of arson.  Lillebo said the behavior and pattern of the fire was unusual and not consistent with an accidental fire.

Thompson's defense tried to poke holes in the investigators' findings, asking them if other potential causes had been ignored.   Investigators say they are aware that Shirley Exline, the homeowner, is a smoker but they do not believe there is any evidence that a discarded cigarette was a cause.

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