Evidence found at the
site of a
devastating arson fire
in southwest Missouri suggests the crime may have been
motivated by hate. Investigators found antigay graffiti painted
at the scene of a fire that tore through a strip mall in
Stockton on Wednesday night, destroying three businesses and
one empty store.
The owner of all three
businesses, Dan Thornton, is openly gay.
Dina R. Larson, 39, and her son, Jacob T. Smith, 18, both of
Stockton, were charged Thursday with counts including
second-degree burglary and second-degree arson. A third person
in custody is not yet charged.
Authorities say that
Smith and Larson admitted that they broke into stores at the
mall, stole items, and set the fire. Some of the stolen items
were recovered at their home.