Archive for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Arson victim takes stand at ex-boyfriend’s trial

A fire victim took the stand in day two of a Lawrence arson trial.

April 21, 2009


As a Lawrence woman arrived on the scene last summer and learned her mobile home was on fire, she immediately blamed her ex-boyfriend, Trevor Toussaint.

But during Toussaint’s arson and burglary trial Tuesday morning, defense attorney Charles Whitman questioned Kimberly Berry about why she was so quick to blame Toussaint before she even talked to firefighters or police.

“After the patterns of all the break-ins and everything, it was kind of apparent what had happened,” Berry said.

From the stand, Berry has explained how she tried to break a romantic relationship off with Toussaint the night before the fire. She wanted to remain friends, and she had also begun to see another man.

She described at least five instances in weeks leading up to the fire when Toussaint entered her home without her permission and refused to leave.

Whitman asked Berry about how their on-again, off-again relationship continued even after the fire and did not end until earlier this year.

Toussaint, 44, Lawrence, faces arson and burglary charges and is accused of setting fire on June 10, 2008, to the southeastern Lawrence mobile home. His trial began Monday.

Berry also testified that in August she heard Toussaint make a statement that he “can’t take back what is already done.” She said she took it to be a confession to setting the fire because she said Toussaint later went into detail about what he was wearing that night.

Whitman had asked her why she didn’t notify investigators immediately of the conversation.

“I didn’t want him to be re-arrested at the time,” she said. “I still had feelings for him.”

Fire investigators have ruled the blaze was set intentionally after gasoline was poured onto Berry’s bed and in the hallway, and then ignited.

Whitman has disputed that Toussaint was identified as the person who broke into the mobile home that day.

Berry’s testimony concluded just after 11 a.m. Tuesday, and prosecutor Eve Kemple continued presenting her case to jurors.


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