SARTELL (WJON News) -- Stearns County prosecutors have dismissed the charges against a Sartell man accused of trying to burn down his mother-in-law's house back in 2019.

Forty-two-year-old Erin Idzerda was charged with 1st-degree arson back in March 2021. Court records show the charges were dismissed Tuesday.

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In a statement to WJON News, Idzerda's attorney Ken Wilson says the prosecutor dismissed the charges after a defense fire investigator reviewed the evidence and determined that the initial investigations about what happened were not done in a scientific manner and not generally accepted within the professional fire investigation community.

Records show, the initial investigation claimed the fire started in the basement from a pile of combustibles that had been intentionally set on fire by a match or cigarette lighter.

According to the complaint, a neighbor reported to police suspicious activity involving Idzerda a few days before the fire. The neighbor stated the home's window blinds were askew, a light was on upstairs and there was a smell of burning paint and plastic.

Idzerda told police he was at the home two days before the fire and talked about his mother-in-law's 'hoarding problem' and 'if they couldn't sell the home, they would have to take another job to pay for the remaining mortgage balance.'

Court records show Idzerda also expressed his belief he could submit an insurance claim for the fire.


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