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Westminster man found guilty of arson


A 20-year-old Westminster man was found guilty Friday of arson -- setting fires on April 26 that destroyed a barn in Westminster and damaged a house under construction in Reese.

A Carroll County Circuit Court jury deliberated about three hours before convicting Kevin W. Wayson, of the 1200 block of Campus Court, of two counts of second-degree arson, each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

The barn on Poole Road was destroyed at a loss of about $35,000, said Brian DeLeonardo, assistant state's attorney. The house under construction on Green Mill Road sustained several thousand dollars in damage.

In closing arguments to the jury Friday morning after a three-day trial, the prosecutor emphasized testimony by several witnesses who described Wayson's clothing and appearance.

Wayson and family members testified that he was at home early on the Sunday when the fires occurred. Defense attorney Michael S. Levin attacked the credibility of supposed friends of Wayson in his closing argument.

Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. scheduled sentencing in January for Wayson, who is to be tried this week on other charges. Wayson has been jailed since last month, when his bail was revoked after he was charged with threatening a potential witness with arson.

The original charges stemmed from an undercover operation at Westminster High School last spring that led to the arrest of Wayson and six juveniles in a series of arson and theft cases.

Pub Date: 12/06/98

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