Cottage Grove arson suspect pleads not guilty - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Cottage Grove arson suspect pleads not guilty

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The man accused of burning the future home of a sex offender says he's not guilty.

At a preliminary hearing in Dane County Court on Wednesday, a detective talked about the investigation into the fire at the home on Gaston Circle in Cottage Grove in February.

Russell Speigle faces an arson charge in this case. Dane County Sheriff's Office Det. Brian Lukens explained in court his meeting with Speigle the night of the fire. He noticed burns on Speigle's face and he saw him again later at a local hospital's burn center.

Lukens says surveillance video of the home that night shows someone carrying two gas cans walked up to the home from the direction of Speigle's house.

"[The suspect] approached, walked up on the front step, it appeared that they kicked the front door open, they backed off for a brief moment in time then continued into the residence," Lukens says. "Approximately six minutes later, there was an explosion. A few seconds after the explosion the individual came out through a window that was blown out."

A convicted sex offender was set to move into the home shortly after the fire. There was also another fire at the same home in December.

Speigle's not guilty plea means the arson case will go to trial. 

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