OLYMPIA — The Washington state Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a woman who is serving a life sentence for setting a 2014 fire that killed her boyfriend.
The Kitsap Sun reports the court issued a 6-3 decision Thursday that upheld the aggravated first-degree murder conviction of Shelly Arndt in the killing of Darcy Vedder Jr.
Arndt’s lawyers had argued that a superior court judge had put restrictions on testimony by a fire investigation expert called by the defense, but the higher courts disagreed.
They found that Arndt was able to adequately challenge evidence offered by county fire investigators and that the judge did not abuse her discretion by limiting what jurors heard from the defense expert, Dale Mann.
Jurors convicted Arndt, now 50, of multiple crimes for the Feb. 23, 2014, fire at Arndt’s twin sister’s house in East Bremerton. Six people were sleeping inside at the time the fire broke out. All escaped the blaze, except for Veeder, who did not wake up when a friend tried to rouse him.
County investigators said the fire had been intentionally set — using a bean bag and a hand-held lighter. Prosecutors used that finding, along with statements Arndt made to a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office detective plus her history of domestic violence and arson.