13th Court of Appeals upholds arson conviction

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Nov. 23, 2012 at 5:23 a.m.

The 13th Court of Appeals has upheld the arson conviction of a Bloomington man last week.

Carl Edward Shiner, also known as Carl Robert Shiner, 56, was sentenced to 99 years in prison after witnesses said he lit clothes in his closet on fire Dec. 22, 2010.

His sentence was enhanced because he had past felony convictions, according to earlier reports.

Shiner, who was living in an occupied, multiunit apartment complex at the time of the incident, appealed the Nov. 18, 2011, sentence on the grounds that the prosecution didn't have sufficient evidence.

Specifically, Shiner wrote "it is difficult to decipher how a rational jury could resolve (Clara Escalante's) testimony with that of the other witnesses."

Escalante testified that she was with Shiner and in his apartment when the fire started.

The justices disagreed, pointing to testimony such as that of Victoria County Fire Marshal Ron Pray, which they said a jury could use to determine Shiner's guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Pray said that Shiner blamed several different people before confessing to starting the fire himself with a cigarette or cigarette lighter, according to court documents.

He said it was extinguished by neighbors before the fire department arrived, and no one was hurt.

Witnesses also said at the time that Shiner was acting erratically by banging on the walls, chasing people with a 2-by-4 and mumbling to himself.

Shiner has until Nov. 30 to ask the appeals court to reconsider.

Shiner's attorney, Alex Luna, could not be reached for comment.



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