WAUKON — A Waterloo woman accused of setting fire to her business in downtown Waukon in 2022 will be getting a new attorney.
Mindy Jo Jones, 43, also known as Mindy Riley, is charged with first-degree arson and animal abuse in the blaze that leveled her Tin, Rust and Harmony store and killed a dog living in an upstairs apartment.
She was released on bond, and the court appointed attorney Nathan Moonen of Ossian to represent her through a state public defender contract.
Last month, Moonen asked to be excused from the case because he is already representing the person who owned the dog that died in the fire in another matter, according to court records. Judge Alan Heavens has since appointed attorney Daniel Key to represent Jones. Trial is tentatively set for October.
The fire broke out Feb. 13, 2022, as Jones was facing financial difficulties.
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Investigators said two separate fires had been set in the business and her insurance carrier refused to pay on the policy.
Jones and the store took the insurance company, State Farm, to court in February. Last month, attorneys for State Farm filed a response alleging that recovery is barred because of fraud, misrepresentation or intentional acts on Jones’ part.
“It was an illegal act committed by plaintiff Mindy Jones which caused or contributed to the basis for plaintiffs’ insurance claim with State Farm, and plaintiffs are thus barred from receiving any financial benefit from such illegal act,” attorneys for the insurance company wrote in their response.
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