The retrial of accused arsonist and murderer, Ronald Kemppainen, continued Wednesday with never-before heard testimony in the case. The prosecution brought in former acquaintances and law enforcement officials who talked about other suspicious fires in Kemppainen TMs past.
As it turns out, the fatal fire at 116 Quincy Street wasn't the only time Kemppainen TMs residence burned down. In fact it wasn TMt even the only fire he's been suspected of starting.
Michael Sanregret didn't get to testify in Kemppainen TMs last trial, so this afternoon was the first time he told a jury about the March 2008 fire at Kemppainen TMs father's home in L TMAnse.
Sanregret was dating Kemppainen TMs niece at the time and agreed to let Kemppainen move some personal items from his father's house, where he was living, to Sanregret's house for storage.
"As he was bringing the stuff in, the fire whistle started going off, said Sanregret. And then my girlfriend's mom called maybe an hour later and told us."
During cross-examination, the defense brought up Sanregret's former drug habit and suggested his memories might not be the most reliable.
Of course that wasn't the only fire in Kemppainen TMs past. Retired L TMAnse Police Officer Ray Bailey took the stand twice to talk about Kemppainen TMs presence at several fires in L TMAnse on the night of December 21, 1982.
The jury was sequestered during Bailey's first testimony in which he recalled a threat Kemppainen made just six months prior.
"He was scheduled to go to butcher training school in August and he said if this arrest cost him his parole and he couldn't attend school that he'd come back and burn the f-ing town to the ground," said Bailey.
The judge decided not to allow that statement in Bailey's testimony to the jury, but they did hear about the night of the fires.
"Kemppainen was standing by a fire truck and asked, 'I suppose you want to look at my shoes, TM and I said ~yes TM. I observed a very unique tread and it was similar to the prints around the fire," Bailey said.
Before that new testimony, the jury heard from State Farm fire investigators who also determined the Hancock fire was arson.
The trial resumes with one final witness from the prosecution Thursday morning.