Fire Expert’s Testimony Critical to Case

Robin Clifton’s 21-day arson trial, for which 800 potential jurors had been called, has been postponed for an expert witness to continue preparing. Stephen B. Spies, a retired special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, is the arson expert witness mentioned in the motion. Clifton is accused of setting four fires on Sept. 5, 2005, two of which destroyed the Rifle Amoco station. He allegedly set other fires at a restaurant and a townhouse under construction.

According to the Post Independent, the size of the jury pool was a result of heavy pretrial publicity of the case and the anticipated length of the trial. Clifton had sought unsuccessfully to have the trial moved elsewhere because of the amount of local media attention the case had received.