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Witnesses Take Stand In Fort Collins Arson Trial

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– Witnesses are taking the stand in an arson trial in Fort Collins. Benjamin Gilmore is accused of starting a fire that caused $10 million in damage to a building under construction and a condo complex.

Police say Gilmore set the Mason Flats in Old Town Fort Collins on fire last fall. It was under construction, but the flames jumped next door to the Penny Flats condos, prompting 21 people to evacuate.

Gilmore, 30, has been charged with arson and attempted murder. He is a beekeeper and once considered himself with the Occupy movement.

The first day of the trial wrapped up at about 5 p.m. Thursday at the Larimer County Courthouse. The trial began after days of jury selection.

Two witnesses took the stand on Thursday; a resident at the condo complex and a newspaper delivery man who saw the fire.

Gilmore arrived in court early with his attorneys for opening arguments. He appeared to be attentive as the prosecution made their opening remarks.

Prosecutors said they will show that Gilmore intentionally set the fire in the early morning hours of October 24, 2011. They also outlined the evidence they will present during the trial, including a watch which was found at the scene they claim belongs to Gilmore, and a possible motive because of his affiliation with the Occupy movement.


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