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Court snuffs slipper-sniffer challenge

By: Phillip Bantz//April 18, 2018

Court snuffs slipper-sniffer challenge

By: Phillip Bantz//April 18, 2018

Not all slipper stories have fairy tale endings, especially those involving accelerant-sniffing police dogs.

And Paula Rose is no Cinderella, according to prosecutors. They alleged that she lied about burglars setting fire to her house as part of an insurance fraud scheme that crumbled after a police dog named Misty alerted to a pair of slippers in Rose’s bedroom.

A trace evidence expert later testified that the slippers tested positive for ignitable liquids — and so did a shirt and jeans that Rose was wearing during the fire, according to an April 11 decision from the state Court of Appeals.

In a 911 call, Rose had said three men were in her garage and trying to break into her gun safe. She then told the dispatcher that a wicker couch on her back porch was on fire. But a passerby who stopped and spoke with Rose after seeing smoke rising from her residence testified that she never mentioned that burglars or anyone else was inside.

After she was convicted of arson, insurance fraud and other related charges, Rose argued on appeal that the trial court shouldn’t have let a police investigator testify about Misty’s super-sniffing abilities.

But the Court of Appeals rejected the argument, noting that the investigator and Misty had worked more than 140 fire scenes together, that Misty had been certified in several states as an investigative canine, and that she had never failed a certification test or falsely alerted in any case.

While Rose is probably disappointed in the outcome of her appeal, McGruff the Crime Dog would be proud.

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