1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 1999

    Default Really Big Brass One's!!!!

    This cretin certainly deserves some type of reward for having the biggest brass balls in creation!!

    Bangor, Maine Daily News 1/15/2003
    Arsonist seeks payoff for house he torched



    ELLSWORTH - A civil suit filed by a convicted arsonist who is trying to get money from the insurance company that refused to pay him for a house he burned is expected to be heard next week in court.

    Merle Crossman is suing Middlesex Mutual Insurance Co. of Brunswick over money he feels he should have received after he intentionally set fire three years ago to a home he owned in Orland.

    Crossman was charged with arson and pleaded no contest last May to setting the blaze that severely damaged the house.

    Arguments in the case are expected to be presented Jan. 22 to Justice Andrew Mead in Hancock County Superior Court.

    Crossman, 49, of Winterport, had recently bought the home for $25,000 when, on Dec. 17, 1999, he stuffed several National Geographic magazines between exposed studs in a basement stairwell and placed a lit butane torch atop a fan on the basement stairs, pointing at the magazines, according to Superior Court documents. Crossman then left the house, locking the doors behind him.

    The fire was spotted and reported later that night by two passers-by.

    Last spring at Crossman's trial, Hancock County District Attorney Michael Povich said Crossman stood to be paid $75,000 in insurance claims from the loss of the house, which since has been demolished. The insurance company denied Crossman's claim before he was indicted for arson.

    Crossman's trial in Hancock County Superior Court ended in mistrial. The day before jury selection for a second trial was about to begin, he pleaded no contest and agreed to serve a six-year sentence with all but 18 months suspended.

    Crossman is being held at the Maine State Prison in Warren, according to a facility official.

    Crossman's attorney, Laurie Miller of Bangor, said Tuesday that Crossman's no-contest plea should not bar Crossman from seeking payment from the insurance company.

    "That's our position," Miller said. "A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt."

    Carl Rella of Bangor, the insurance company's attorney, said Tuesday that the company has asked for Crossman's suit to be dismissed. He said Crossman's no-contest plea should be treated the same as a guilty plea or as a conviction by a jury.

    "It is inconceivable that a person can bring civil litigation after entering a [no contest] plea that leads to a conviction," Rella said. "It is the company's position that the conviction, which followed the [no contest] plea, bars civil litigation."

    Both attorneys indicated that the case was unusual. Miller said that the argument she plans to present next week in court is a "novel" one.

    Rella said he knows of no precedent in Maine in which a convicted arsonist has filed suit against an insurance company that has refused to pay him or her for fire damages.

    "I can't say it hasn't happened," Rella said, "[but] I don't know other cases off the top of my head where it has happened."

    Crossman's trial was delayed when he fled to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where he later was found living in an apartment rented in his brother's name, Hancock County District Attorney Michael Povich said after the trial.

    Crossman had books about disappearing and creating new identities when he was found, Povich has said.

    Crossman was arrested and extradited on a fugitive's warrant back to Maine, where he then served sentences in Waldo County for burglary and theft.

    A subsequent court-ordered mental examination of Crossman found he was competent to stand trial before the arson trial got under way.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Flanders, NJ


    This is an interesting case. The suit will probably go to trial. But the insurance co. does not have the same burden of proof that the State has. Instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt", all they have to proof is a 51% chance that the mutt did it.

    I will agree, though, that this takes a brass set.

  3. #3
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    gordoffemt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Greendale, IN, USA


    Freakin' lawyers. That's what's wrong with our court system. Bogged down with frivolous and ignorant lawsuits.

    My apologies to any decent lawyers out there. Is that an oxymoron, "decent lawyers?"
    Lt. D. Gordon
    Greendale Fire Department
    Greendale, IN

  4. #4
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    AFD368's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Albion NY


    My question is...... Is "Bob", Ms. Miller's co-council?"
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
    I.A.C.O.J. Member

  5. #5
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    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA


    DRKBLRAM, says he probably wont win,and any sane right minded person would agree with that statement----BUT we all know how screwed up some of the members of the legal proffesion are, perhaps he should drop a cup of coffee in his lap, might enhance his chances!!

  6. #6
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    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Dieppe, New Brunswick


    All I can say is wow. I can't believe that they will even entertain this motion. Anything for a buck!

    Lets never forget the events of 9-11

    If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

    **And of course these are only my opinion and only mine. Don't take it out on anyone else but me.**

  7. #7
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    NHBFD56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Looking for that happy place!

    Default Where to draw the line?

    Next convicted murderers will be trying to collect on life insurance policies.

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