Opening statements begin in second Susan Lukjan trial - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Opening statements begin in second Susan Lukjan trial

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Susan Lukjan, the woman accused of burning down her St. Matthews business, wants to prove her innocence. Susan Lukjan, the woman accused of burning down her St. Matthews business, wants to prove her innocence.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The woman accused of burning down her business is back in court.

Susan Lukjan is on trial for a second time. She is out to clear her name, and in opening statements in court, her lawyer was fierce about proving her innocence.

Lukjan is accused of burning down her St. Matthews business. After her original conviction was overturned, she would have been a free woman. However, she decided not to accept a plea deal, claiming she wants to prove her innocence.

In the opening statements Thursday, the prosecutor claimed her business was failing, and she was behind on her bills. He claimed she upped her insurance policy and burned down her business to get a pay out.

"She was late on her rent, late on her utilities," said Prosecutor Leland Hulbert. "You add fire to these peanuts, it is combustible."

The defense says the claims have no merit and they hope to prove she paid up on her bills shortly before the fire. 

"The fact is, many of these bills were paid before the fire," said defense attorney Thomas Clay.

Clay suggested fire responders were not up-to-date on their documentation training, and hence improperly recorded the origin and cause of the blaze.

"These experts ignored... and reached the wrong conclusion," Clay said.

St. Matthews fire officials were put on the witness stand, where they claimed they documented the fire to the best of their ability. Investigators say they have no idea where the fire started.

And as far as any future claims that the fire was started by lightning, Hulbert claims that weather records will prove that untrue.

"There was no lightning," Hulbert said.

And the defense will continue to fight back.

"His examination is flawed in many ways," Clay said.

The trial is set to continue on Friday.

Copyright 2013 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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