Skip to comments.Testimony: Burned Letter Didn't Start Hayman Wildfire
Posted on 09/09/2008 2:40:52 PM PDT by george76
Forest Service Investigator Believes Barton Lied About Letter.
The lead U.S. Forest Service investigator looking into the cause of Colorado's largest wildfire testified Tuesday that she doesn't believe a burning letter sparked the fire.
Agent Kimberly Jones was testifying in a Denver federal civil case where five insurance companies and several property owners are suing the federal government for more than $7 million because a Forest Service employee was responsible.
That employee, Terry Barton, was convicted of starting the 2002 Hayman wildfire and spent nearly six years in a federal prison.
When Jones testified that she didn't believe there ever was a letter burned by Barton, the judge interrupted the questioning to ask Jones if she had testified to that previously. She told the judge she was never asked that question on the stand before.
Jones was then asked if that meant Barton lied when she stipulated everything in her plea bargain was fact. Jones replied, "Yes."
(Excerpt) Read more at thedenverchannel.com ...
Barton did not admit starting the fire until after her arrest.
Barton lied when she stipulated everything in her plea bargain was fact ?
Gee, a forest service being asked of the forest service employee started a fire says no. Whodthunkit? Not to mention the legal implications if that woman served jail time and can show she was not the fire starter.
She stuck to that story for a couple of days, and then came up with the one about burning the letter from her ex.
I never believed her story about the letter. The theory that made the most sense was that Barton was a part-time employee who wanted to be a full-time employee...and that she started the fire intending to put it out and be considered a hero so the Forest Service would want to hire her. There was no way to prove that...only some vague hints from barely remembered conversations. So the Forest Service eventually decided to accept the letter story and get on with the case.
I felt the letter story was a little far fetched for a Forest Service employee though in arson cases there are some that are stranger than fiction.
If she did set it intentionally, she got off easy with the six years.
She has lied so many times, it is hard to know when she might be telling he truth.
She apparently got one promotion and was looking for another promotion ? seems the most likely reason that she started then reported her ‘find.’
Strange that the lead U.S. Forest Service investigator doesn’t believe the official version .
Second, who pushed the letter idea inside the USFS ?
Third , that “ she was never asked that question on the stand before. “
All good questions that we’ll probably never get the answers to.
Just a guess that whoever decided to prosecute (FS?) her for that charge possibly felt it wouldn’t make the FS look as bad and that it would be easier to convict her.
The lead investigator not believing it and not being asked the question on the stand tends to indicate she got the word to go along.
Maybe the USFS is trying to avoid civil claims ?
’ The plaintiffs are arguing that Barton burned a letter in a campfire ring to make the case that the Forest Service is responsible for the 138,000-acre fire ...’
We will likely never know.