LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Based on opening statements, it appears Susan Lukjan’s second trial will center around expert witnesses from both sides duking it out over where the fire in Lukjan’s business started and what started it.
Lukjan is accused of burning down her business, Campbell’s Gourmet Cottage in 2006. She was convicted of the crime, but that conviction was later overturned. Lukjan is now out to clear her name.
Firefighters took the stand first, setting the scene of the fire. They talked about smoke billowing from inside the building. St. Matthews Fire Chief William Seng said he could tell that the fire had a good hold inside the building by the time they got there.
In opening statements, prosecutor Leland Hulbert told jurors they believed Lukjan started the fire to collect over $500,000 in insurance money. Defense attorney T. Clay said those accusations were a joke and that he would prove investigators rushed to point a finger at his client. Both sides seemed to focus on the point of origin of the fire.
The defense also claimed they would expose important evidence that they believe prosecutors deliberately withheld in the first trial.