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Ottumwa man accused of attempted murder takes the stand

Shane Ryan took the stand Thursday afternoon to say he did not attempt to murder his ex-wife and daughter./KTVO

The trial of a Shane Ryan, an Ottumwa man accused of arson and attempted murder continued Thursday.

Jurors heard from members of the Ottumwa Police Department as well as a former coworker of Shane Ryan, who occasionally stayed in contact with him.

Ryan’s co-worker Pat Soots testified that he had received Facebook messages from Ryan prior to the house fire in June. The messages revealed that Ryan had been upset with his situation with his wife and was thinking of setting his house on fire.

Prosecutors asked Soots, “Do you think that those meant that Mr. Ryan was going to burn his house down?”
Soots said, “Not in a million years would I ever expect that.”

The defense then questioned Soots as to whether he felt Ryan’s family was being threatened, to which Soots responded no.

Thursday’s session wrapped up with a testimony from Ryan himself.

During his initial interview with the Ottumwa Police Department, just four days after the incident, Ryan said he could not remember exactly what happened that day.

When on the stand Thursday, Ryan said he has more clarity over the event now that he’s sober and has had seven months to reflect on it.

Prosecutors asked Ryan, “Your claims is that when people are drunk or on a bender and they experience events that later once they’re sober they’ll remember those events”
Ryan responded, “Sure. It’s like when you read a book. You read through a page, five minutes later you might not remember everything you read, but when you reflect on what you read you still remember what the book’s about.”

Ryan has openly admitted to committing arson, but says he did not attempt to murder his ex-wife and daughter. His lawyer today argued that Ryan had told them to leave the house before he set it on fire.

Friday morning, both the defense and the state will make their closing arguments. The jurors will then make a decision.

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