Man sentenced for 2001 arson that killed son, 15 - KMOV.com

Man sentenced for 2001 arson that killed son, 15

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A former Florissant man has been sentenced to 70 months in prison for his role in a 2001 arson that killed his 15-year-old son.

Steven Henry Kemper, 56, of St. Louis County, is convicted of arson at his family's home in the 6600 block of Champana Lane in Florissant. Kemper's son, Zachariah Andrew Kemper, was trapped in the basement and died during the fire.

Kemper previously pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the use of fire to commit mail fraud.

The 2001 fire was originally the subject of state charges in which only Kemper's wife, Sandra Bryant, was charged. During the ensuing trial, the judge declared a mistrial after ruling that certain polygraph evidence had mistakenly been shown to the jury. 

The Missouri Supreme Court ultimately held that because the mistrial was declared over the defense objection, state prosecutors were barred from retrying the defendant in state court because of the U.S. Constitution's double jeopardy provision.

Bryant, 59, pleaded guilty to the same charge in March and awaits sentencing in July.  
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