Sockeye Fire defendant takes the stand
On Monday, the jury in the Sockeye Fire trial heard from one of the defendants herself. Amy DeWitt and her husband Greg Imig face a dozen charges each related to staring the 2015 blaze.
When we took the stand, DeWitt not only had a message for the jury but also people in the audience who lost homes and property to the fire.
“It was scary as hell,” DeWitt testified. “Everyone, all of us, we went through the same thing.”
She admitted that she, Greg Imig, and her oldest son Matthew built three illegal burn pits on Imig’s Willow property the weekend the fire started.
“We were burning the tops of trees and the limbs in the piles,” DeWitt said.
The state argues that the Sockeye Fire started when heat crept from the smallest pit into the forest, but DeWitt told the jury she doesn’t know how that’s possible.
“When you walked away from that suspect pit, was there any fire burning in that at all?” Imig’s attorney Philip Shanahan asked.
“Not at all,” DeWitt responded.
The sockeye fire burned more than 7000 acres and scorched 55 homes.
Dewitt was the first person to call 911.
She testified that when she set eyes on the fire, it hadn’t reached the Imig property yet.
Also called to the stand on Monday was private fire investigator Chris Warren from Colorado. He was hired by the defense to review the state’s investigation.
Warren testified that the suspect pit is not the origin or cause of the Sockeye Fire.
“I felt that the state’s evidence was insufficient,” Warren told the jury. “Based on the documentation of evidence that was provided to us we felt there was not enough information to arrive at a conclusion.”
DeWitt maintained her innocence as well.
“When you saw it (the fire), was it near that suspect pit?” Shanahan asked.
“It wasn’t anywhere near it, it wasn’t behind it, it wasn’t near it,” DeWitt responded.
She told the jury that while she and Greg Imig did burn, they did so responsibly.
Monday was the eleventh day of the trial. It’s unknown just how long it will continue but the state is hopeful to have a verdict by the end of the week or early next week.