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2 charged in plot to burn Jefferson County WV delegate's house

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CHARLES TOWN, WV (AP) -
A Berkeley County man and his son face charges of plotting to burn a state lawmaker's house.

Darryl Edmond Palmer, 49, of Inwood, and Matthew Brian Palmer, 21, of Ranson are each charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree arson, The Herald Mail of Hagerstown, Maryland reported.

The men are accused of conspiring to burn Delegate Stephen Skinner's home in retaliation for a lawsuit that the Jefferson County Democrat had filed against them over a consumer issue.

State police arrested the men on June 10 following an investigation by Trooper 1st Class J.E. Williams.

A telephone listing for Darryl Palmer had been disconnected. A listing for Matthew Palmer in the Ranson area couldn't be found.

Court records show that witnesses told state police investigators that the men offered them "good money, $1,500 to $2,000" to burn down Skinner's home because of an "active lawsuit" he filed against them. The witnesses also told investigators that Matthew Palmer told them his father "will pay more if the ... lawyer is in there," and that the newspaper reported.

Skinner expressed his appreciation to investigators for apprehending the defendants.

"Now, I'm just looking for the matter to be resolved," he told the newspaper.

Each man remains free on a $50,000 bond. Darryl Palmer, who owns a long-haul trucking company and used-car lot, has asked a judge to waive a condition of his bond that forbids him to leave the state so he can continue to work.

If convicted, each man faces one to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

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