The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the arson conviction against a Waterloo woman. Pamela Newman’s home burned down three and a half years ago. At the scene, Newman told fire fighters when she emerged from her bathroom she saw the kitchen was on fire, and she may have kicked over a gas can that was on or near the stove. Newman told cops a different story: as she breaking up with her boyfriend, he poured gasoline on her, she escaped to the bathroom, but when she came out the kitchen was on fire. Newman’s lawyer lined up an expert who said fires like the one that destroyed Newman’s home were usually set by men, but he wasn’t allowed to offer that theory in court. The Iowa Court of Appeals says the trial judge made the right call. Newman also argued her trial lawyer should have tried to stop Newman from admitting on the stand that she was a regular pot smoker. She testified that she didn’t have the “kind of money” it took to “feed” a crack habit. The Court of Appeals ruled against that objection, too, and upheld her first degree arson conviction.
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