Jury Deliberates Arson Case

By: Zachary Meseck

NORWICH – After a week long trial, a Chenango County jury heard closing arguments from both the prosecution and the defense, and were then asked to determine a Greene woman's guilt or innocence.

Anna Santiago, 51, of Greene, has been charged with third-degree arson after allegedly burning down her home on Chipmunk Lane on August 3, 2017.

Prosecutors said Santiago burned down her 5,000 square foot home for approximately $1,000,000 in home owner's insurance, after the death of her husband caused financial issues.

Santiago said she was the victim of an arson and burglary, but law enforcement failed to look further into her case after her neighbors told investigators she was struggling to pay her bills.

In their closing arguments, both attorneys discussed Santiago actions, and why she may or may not have had motive to burn down her home.

According to Defense Attorney Debra Gelson, Santiago loved the home she lived in and had never missed a payment on her mortgage, even after the death of her husband.

"Anna lived in a beautiful 5,000 square foot home with her husband, and had been living there for over 10 years before his passing," said Gelson. "Never once was she late on making a payment."

She said besides alleged issues with paying the bills, there was a lack of evidence that Santiago started the fires.

Gelson said there was no way Santiago could have started three fires on opposite ends and floors of the house, and then left before the fire alarm could go off. She said Santiago suffered from mobility issues, making it incredibly difficult for her to be the culprit.

"One of the fires was directly underneath a smoke alarm, how could she have set that fire and escaped before the alarm went off when she suffered from mobility issues," said Gelson.



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