A lesbian couple burned down their Tennessee home and then tried to cover it up as a hate crime in an effort to collect a $276,000 insurance pay out, a federal jury has concluded.
A jury in U.S. District Court on Monday ruled in favor of American National Property and Casualty Company (ANPAC), which provided evidence that Carol Ann Stutte and Laura Jean Stutte torched their home in 2010 in Vonore and covered it up by spray-painting the word “queers” on a detached garage, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
The Stuttes blamed neighbor Janice Millsaps in a lawsuit, accusing her of repeated threats to burn their house down. The lawsuit said that a month prior to the fire, Ms. Millsaps said to them: “Do you know what is better than one dead queer? Two dead queers.”
Ms. Millsaps was never charged in the arson.
ANPAC concluded after its own probe — which included a polygraph examination that Ms. Millsaps passed — that the Stuttes were indeed the arsonists, the Sentinel reported.
The Stuttes have not been charged in the house arson. The status of their lawsuit against Ms. Millsaps was not immediately clear, the paper said.