Arson trial continues

Published 8:11 pm Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In a day filled with testimony from more than 20 witnesses, prosecution attorneys continued to build their case Wednesday against Toshanna “Nikki” Fore who has been charged with arson, criminal mischief and attempted murder.
The testimony by Brewton Police officers who responded to and investigated the car and house fire at a Spruce Avenue residence in April 2010, suggested that Fore gave false information to officers at the scene of the fire last year.
District Attorney Steve Billy and Assistant District Attorney Todd Stearns are prosecuting the case for the State of Alabama and called more than 20 witnesses to the stand on the second day of testimony.
Travis Shoemake, a Brewton Police officer who responded to the fire call, said he arrived on the scene of the fire before fire deparment personnel arrived and noticed Fore at the scene.
“I had seen her and had dealings with her before,” Shoemake said. “She was across the street, one or two houses up from where the fire was. She was standing by a car when I saw her.”
Stearns further questioned Shoemake on the initial investigation and his interaction with Fore that morning.
“Did you ask her why she was there,” Stearns asked Shoemake.
“She said she lived there,” Shoemake replied. “She changed her story. She said she was checking on her daughter who was staying with someone in the area. We found that not to be true. She gave us three or four stores about why she was there.”
Officers read Fore her rights letting her know she did not have to make any statements to law enforcement at the time. While being detained, Fore signed a statement she wrote herself recounting the events in the timeframe surrounding the fire.
Brewton Police Sgt. Bryan Davis, the initial investigator in the case, said he was briefed by officers when arrived at the police station around 5:30 a.m. on the morning of the fire. Fore was also being detained at the police station when Davis arrived, he said.
“I asked her about the written statement she had given and she apologized to the officers that she had lied to,” Davis said. “The information she had given about the location of her child was not the truth.”
Davis said during questioning of Fore, different stories about her presence on the fire scene were given.
“She gave several different reasons why she was on Spruce Avenue,” Davis said. “She also stated ‘I never burned the house down, I never burned the house down’ while she was being questioned.”
Davis said Fore immediately requested that an attorney be contacted on her behalf.
Testimony in the case is expected to span this week. Circuit Judge Bert Rice, who is presiding over the case, initially told jurors the case could spill into next week.
For additional details, see the post District attorney: Fire intentionally set, found on The Brewton Standard Webpage.