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Arson Trial Closing Arguments

WILKES-BARRE — Closing arguments got underway Wednesday at an arson trial in Luzerne County. A woman accused of setting fire to an apartment building in Conyngham could learn her fate later today.

The defense attorney for Gail Schneider presented his closing arguments on the seventh day of the arson trial.

Schneider of Berwick is free on bail.  She sat silently in court as her defense attorney told jurors that she is not a cold, heartless woman who would set fire to a building with people sleeping inside.

Schneider is facing seven arson charges for the 2010 fire at the Lantern Lane building in Conyngham. The fire damaged several apartments and businesses.

On Tuesday, Schneider testified in her own defense. She denied that she set the fire. The defense says state police troopers have no physical evidence and claim the fire could have been electrical due to rodents or bad wiring in the historic building.

Prosecutors said they have surveillance video showing that Schneider was driving nearby the night of the fire and that she was still angry after being evicted and losing a security deposit on an apartment in the building.

About a dozen people from Conyngham including firefighters, former tenants and the Lantern Lane building landlord are in the courtroom   waiting to hear the verdict which could be handed down by the jury sometime Wednesday.



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