October 24, 2014

Medina
Mostly clear
40°F

Homeowner convicted of arson

MEDINA — A former Wadsworth woman faces up to 11 years in prison after a Medina County jury found her guilty of aggravated arson Thursday.

Prosecutors said Jill Tucker, 59, set fire to her home at 168 S. Pardee St. in the early morning hours of Oct. 13, 2012.

Police reported that when the Wadsworth Fire Department arrived, Tucker was the only person in the house. Firefighters from Wadsworth, Rittman, Seville-Guilford and Sharon Township worked for five hours to put the fire out.

Tucker has been living in Creston since June 24 when she posted her $25,000 bail. After the verdict Thursday, she was taken to the Medina County Jail.

She is set to be sentenced June 9 by Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier.

In opening arguments at her trial Tuesday, county Assistant Prosecutor Michael McNamara said Tucker was in debt and set the fire to collect $290,000 in insurance money.

McNamara said Tucker took out a loan and bought a home in Creston prior to the fire.

McNamara said the fire was suspicious because it spread so quickly and because at least two independent investigators found what they suspected were two points of origin — one on the ground floor and another on the second floor, on the opposite side of the home.

No evidence of an accelerant, such as gasoline, was found, but police dogs reacted to the smell of accelerants.