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10-01-2016 LSU Pregame

North County Woman Sentenced In Arson Fire That Killed Her Son

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North County Woman Sentenced In Arson Fire That Killed Her Son

St. Louis, MO  (KTRS)   A north county woman is facing nearly four years behind bars for her role in an arson fire that killed her 15-year-old son in 2001. On Thursday a federal judge sentenced 59-year-old  Sandra Kay Bryant 96 months in prison and awarded her credit for the 50 months she spent in jail during […]

North County Woman Sentenced In Arson Fire That Killed Her Son

St. Louis, MO  (KTRS)   A north county woman is facing nearly four years behind bars for her role in an arson fire that killed her 15-year-old son in 2001.

On Thursday a federal judge sentenced 59-year-old  Sandra Kay Bryant 96 months in prison and awarded her credit for the 50 months she spent in jail during the state-level prosecution.  Bryant pleaded guilty in March to one-count of aiding and abetting the use of fire to commit mail fraud and unequivocally acknowledged and confirmed her participation in the arson scheme.  Bryant’s son, 15-year old son, Zachariah Andrew Kemper, became trapped in the basement and was killed during the fire.

The 2001 fire was originally the subject of state prosecution in which Sandra Bryant was charged with murder by arson. During the state trial, Bryant challenged her confession to detectives that detailed her involvement in the fire. The judge declared a mistrial after ruling that certain evidence relating to a polygraph examination indicating deception by Bryant had mistakenly been shown to the jury. The Missouri Supreme Court ultimately held that because the mistrial was declared over the defense objection, state prosecutors were barred from retrying the defendant in state court because of the United States Constitution’s “double jeopardy” provision.

Because the State was unable to proceed with its prosecution of Bryant, federal officials took over the investigation and in October of 2011 a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging both Bryant and her ex-husband, Steven Kemper, for the 2001 arson. Steven Kemper pleaded guilty in 2013 and was sentenced to 70 months in prison.

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