Woman pleads guilty to conspiracy in connection with a 2017 arson




  • In US
  • 2021-03-05 14:46:00Z
  • By Tribune Publishing

Mar. 5-FAIRMONT - A Fairmont woman pled guilty to conspiracy to commit a felony on Thursday in connection with to a 2017 arson case.

Forty-one-year-old Julie Slate, along with her ex-boyfriend Dennis Boyce, was charged in connection to an arson that occurred in May 2017 on Locust Avenue.

The owner of the home, the late Jack F. Smith, was in a nursing home at the time of the fire, according to court documents.

Slate and Boyce were not arrested and charged until April 2018 when police found they had probable cause to file charges for first-degree arson, conspiracy arson and burglary.

Appearing in Marion County Circuit Court before Judge Patrick N. Wilson, Slate pled guilty to the charge of conspiracy on Thursday as part of a plea agreement. She will be placed under court supervision for three years.

"(Slate) was extremely cooperative," said J.T. Hodges, the prosecuting attorney. "Miss Slate has been cooperating and is a valuable witness in the case against Mr. Boyce."

Under the terms of the agreement, Slate has agreed to testify against Boyce, who is still awaiting trial. He faces charges of first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit a felony and nighttime burglary.

If Slate successfully completes the three year supervision program, she will be allowed to enter a plea for a misdemeanor conspiracy instead of the felony charge she currently faces.

Assistant State Fire Marshal Ronald "Mackey" Ayersman ruled the fire arson during the 2018 investigation. At the time of the fire, several items were stolen from Smith's home, including a .38-caliber Taurus revolver, a Gibson Fender stratocaster electric guitar with case and accessories, several large men's gold rings, watches and two jewelry boxes.

Slate and Boyce were connected to the crime after the stolen revolver was traced back to Slate.

She then made a recorded statement in which she admitted breaking into Smith's home with Boyce on May 12, 2017.

Slate later pointed police to the location of a guitar stolen from the property, stating that Boyce placed it in the front closet of his residence.

At the time, a law enforcement official was serving a separate warrant at the address, when the black guitar case was spotted in a closet at Boyce's residence.

Police obtained another search warrant and later returned to the residence.

Police also recovered the stolen guitar that was taken from the Smith residence, several rings, watches, knives and other items later identified by a relative of Smith as property stolen at the time of the fire.

Reach David Kirk at 3043672522.

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