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Convictions upheld for Indiana covered bridge arsons

May 19, 2019

ROCKPORT, Ind. (AP) — The state appeals court has upheld the 90-year prison sentence for a man convicted of setting fires that destroyed one wooden covered bridge in western Indiana and damaged another.

The court rejected arguments from Jesse Payne’s lawyers that he was improperly found guilty but mentally ill despite testimony from doctors during his Parke County trial that he is schizophrenic and was insane when the fires happened.

Payne was convicted on two arson counts for fires that destroyed the Jeffries Ford Bridge in 2002 and damaged the Bridgeton Covered Bridge in 2005. He was convicted of attempted arson for trying set fire to the Mansfield Covered Bridge in 2005.

Payne was found competent to stand trial in 2017 after several years of treatment at the Logansport State Hospital.

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