State begins calling witnesses in Keith Griffith trial

Reidland firefighter Jody Milton was one of the first people who arrived at the house fire and and as he made his way into the master bedroom, he testified seeing a burnt mess.

“To the right, right below the staircase, was a doorway and that lead into that bedroom and from there, the dog was about probably five feet from the doorway,” he said.

That wasn’t all.  After an extensive search, under a burned box spring, Milton found Julie Griffith, laying on her back. “It was unrecognizable so we called a few more people to look and after a while, moving some debris we were able to determine it was human remains,” Milton told the jury.

Family friend Chuck Jordan made the call to Keith Griffith, who the defense claimed had stayed the night at a southern Indiana hotel.  “Told him I had some terrible news. That his house was burnt and Julie and Cleo were both dead,” Jordan said.

Jordan testified once Griffith made it to Reidland, he offered condolences, but Griffith didn’t seem too concerned.  “‘Gave him a hug, told him I’m so sorry – just gave him a hug.’ Did he even show any signs, any outward signs of emotion,’ prosecutors asked. ‘No sir,’ said Jordan. ‘Tears, shaking’ prosecutors followed up. ‘No sir,’ Jordan replied again.

State Fire Marshal Bill Compton testified to the cause of the fire, eliminating any heating units or electrical problems.  He said it’s possible someone doused the bedroom with accelerant because of the extent to the damage.

“Excessive fire damage could be consistent with an ignitable liquid being used,” Compton told the jury.

More witness testimony is scheduled for Tuesday, including the possible interview Griffith made to police.

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