Jury: Lukjan guilty of arson, insurance fraud - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Jury: Lukjan guilty of arson, insurance fraud

Susan Lukjan Susan Lukjan

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – After deliberations that lasted around 9 hours, a Jefferson County jury has found a St. Matthews businesswoman guilty of arson.

The jury announced they had reached a verdict at 8:11 p.m. Thursday. In addition to arson 2nd degree, the jury found Susan Lukjan guilty of fraudulent insurance over $500 and burning personal property to defraud insurance.

Lukjan was on trial for the second time of intentionally setting fire to her cooking store, Campbell's Gourmet Cottage, on August 19, 2006. She was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, but was released on shock probation in January 2011.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals later overturned her conviction after ruling that a key defense witness, a nationally known fire scene expert, should have been allowed to testify at her trial.

During this trial, prosecutors said Lukjan owed so much money to creditors that she "set fire to her St. Matthews business."

Thomas Clay, Lukjan's attorney, said the arson investigation into the cause of the fire was not thorough enough and implied that investigators jumped to conclusions about who or what actually was responsible for the fire.

Lukjan refused to take a plea deal offer by prosecutors because she wanted to prove her innocence.

The sentencing phase of the trial is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Friday.

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