Judge Hears Arguments in Arson Death Case

Judge Hears Arguments in Arson Death Case

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- A 2nd District Court judge has taken under advisement arguments over whether Mark Anthony Ott can face a death-penalty charge in the arson death of a 6-year-old girl.

Ott, 39, is charged with capital homicide in the Sept. 1 death of Lacey Paige and also is accused of stabbing two people. Authorities allege he entered the Layton home of Donna Ott and stabbed Allen Lawrence, Donna Ott's boyfriend, and Sarah Gooch, Donna Ott's daughter, then set the house on fire, causing the death of the daughter of Allen Lawrence. He has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.

Defense attorney Aric Cramer argued Tuesday that Ott did not knowingly cause the girl's death.

"There is insufficient evidence to show that Mr. Ott even knew of the existence of Lacey Lawrence," Cramer said.

According to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a defendant cannot be charged with capital murder if the defendant did not know the victim existed, Cramer said.

Davis County Deputy Attorney Troy Rawlings said that Utah law provides that "in any prosecution for criminal homicide, evidence that the actor caused the death of a person other than the intended victim shall not constitute a defense for any purpose to criminal homicide."

"Who were the intended victims?" Judge Michael G. Allphin said.

"Anybody that was in that house," Rawlings said.

Rawlings said Mark Ott went into Donna Ott's home with the intent to kill.

"And we're supposed to believe his intent miraculously changes when he starts the fire?" Rawlings said.

Rawlings also said the judge cannot separate the stabbings from the burning of the house.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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