Clegg found guilty of setting fire to church

| March 31, 2012

Victor Rudolph Clegg Jr. is now labeled an arsonist in two states.

A female-dominated Des Moines County jury deliberated for nearly five hours Friday and found the 43-year-old Burlington man guilty of second-degree arson, in connection with the three fires that heavily damaged the Union Baptist Church last April.

The panel, however, did not find him liable of second-degree burglary, but rather convicted him on the lesser offense of trespassing, inside the building where he used to perform community service.

Moments before the jury was brought back in, a pin drop could be heard inside the courtroom, and noticeably only those involved in the case were present. There were no relatives there on the part of Clegg, and there were no church members attending the proceeding.

The Rev. Lawrence Manson, its pastor, who testified Wednesday, may have summed up the reason why there were no one in attendance: "We have forgiven, and we have moved on."

Clegg kept looking in the back gallery, his focus shifting to the table in front of him and then toward the judge's bench.

The jury started deliberating the case at 9 a.m. and an hour later issued a question the attorneys discussed with the judge.

They asked whether there was a transcript of the interview between Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Michael Johnson and Clegg and if they could watch the reordered interview presented during trial.

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Category: Church Security

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