North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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June 13, 2013

Updated: Curtis Thornton found guilty of Warrior, Ensley arson cases

BIRMINGHAM — Curtis Thornton, the Warrior man who served on the Birmingham Police Department, has been found guilty of four counts of second-degree arson and two lesser charges.

A Jefferson Circuit Court jury of nine women and three men took about two and a half hours Thursday afternoon to convict Thornton on all six counts.

Thornton, 28, had been charged with setting fire to several different structures, four of which were located in the Dana Road neighborhood where he lived with his then-fiancée. Two others were houses in Ensley, where Thornton worked out of the BPD West Precinct. All of the incidents took place in April and May of 2012.

Thornton’s trial began on Monday morning, with testimony concluding Wednesday afternoon.

In closing arguments on Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Joe Roberts depicted the defendant as a pyromaniac, recalling testimony of how Thornton said, “Ain’t it pretty?” to a Warrior police sergeant responding to a fire call.

Roberts opened his argument with the line, “If there’s smoke, there’s fire. And if there’s fire, there’s the defendant,” referring to testimony that Thornton was seen at all of the scenes of the fires, and had personally reported most to police. He was convicted of trying to set fire to the house where he and his children were living with Bobbie Mayfield, to whom he was engaged to be married at the time. He also set fire to a trailer and a tool shed nearby.

Mayfield testified that Thornton set fire to a stack of Thrifty Nickel newspapers under their home. Thornton denied that on the witness stand, saying that a neighbor did it, but a Warrior Police detective also testified that he quickly ruled that neighbor out of any wrongdoing after questioning.

Thronton’s legal counsel said that their client originally lived in Tuscaloosa, and he and his children moved in with Mayfield after the April 2011 tornadoes ripped through that city.

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