Susan Lukjan found guilty of arson - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Susan Lukjan found guilty of arson

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After nearly nine hours of deliberation, a jury found Susan Lukjan guilty of all three charges relating to the 2006 arson of her St. Matthews business.

Lukjan was charged with deliberately setting a fire that destroyed Campbell's Gourmet Cottage in 2006 so she could collect on an insurance policy.

A jury found Lukjan guilty of arson in July 2010. She was sentenced to 12 years, but her conviction was overturned on appeal when the court of appeals ruled that testimony from an expert witness for the defense was improperly excluded.

Lukjan told WDRB that she plans to appeal the verdict and that the system let her down.

She says she is disappointed with our justice system.

"It's nothing but a game on who plays the best cards and who can out deceive the other. It's nothing but a deception," Lukjan said.

WDRB's Tamara Evans asked Lukjan if there was anything she would like to say to the jury.

"They got it wrong. I'm sorry. That's all," Lukjan replied.

Lukjan claimed during the trial that she received threats in the days before Campbell's Gourmet Cottage went up in flames.

Prosecutors said she set the fire to cash in on insurance money, and depicted her as financially struggling.

"We feel very satisfied," said Leland Hulbert, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney. "Not only now has the jury found her guilty once, but twice, of arson. She presented every witness she could come up with in the last seven years."

Lukjan's attorney, Thomas Clay, didn't have a lot to say about the guilty verdict.

"It's really inappropriate for us to discuss this until we get through the second phase of the trial, so until that is concluded we're not going to be in any position to comment," Clay said.

Prosecutors say they are not surprised to hear that Lukjan wants to appeal the guilty verdict.

"We may talk about possibly an agreement on a sentence, but obviously what happened the first time, we do not want this case appealed," Hulbert said.

Lukjan was also found guilty of two other charges related to the fire, including burning personal property to defraud an insurer and fraudulent insurance acts over $500..

The jury was due back in court Friday to begin the sentencing phase.

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