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Prosecution rests in Ziegler arson trial

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 12:46 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK - The prosecution rested Wednesday morning and the defense began its case in the arson trial of an Elmhurst man accused of burning a home, but the wrong home, as revenge for stolen drugs.

Prosecutors called two more neighbors to testify about what they saw the morning of Aug. 9, 2012 when a Pistakee Highlands home and two vehicles in the driveway were burned. One neighbor said she saw defendant Joseph Ziegler jumping her fence sometime in the morning after firefighters arrived. Another neighbor said a propane tank was stolen from his porch that morning.

After the prosecution rested, Defense Attorney Edward Edens asked McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather to throw out the case because he said the prosecution hadn't proven its case.

Prather denied the request, and the defense called its first witness, a neighbor who lives across the street from where the fire occurred. He testified that he was woken up twice on Aug. 9, first from kids skateboarding and talking by his house, and second when he heard a loud horn sound and a woman screaming.

The defense is trying to show the jury that there were no witnesses to the actual crime and show there is a lack of evidence to convict Ziegler of arson.

The trial will resume Wednesday afternoon and closing arguments will likely take place Thursday.

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