It was five years ago that a Venore, Tennessee couple burned their own house down and blamed it on their “homophobic” neighbor whom they also blamed for spray-painting “queers” in big letters on their house.
A jury just decided that all the evidence pointed to a self-inflicted hate crime. After they had burned their own house to the ground, the lesbian couple were anticipating raking in about $276,000 from their insurance company. But just months after the incident, the insurance company grew suspicious during their investigation. The New York Daily News reported:
An insurance company caught on to the ruse months after the blaze and accused Carol Ann and Laura Stutte of perpetuating a hoax and blaming the fire on their neighbor, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
A federal jury ruled in favor of the insurance company’s belief that the couple spray-painted an anti-gay slur on their own garage to spin the fire as a hate crime based on their sexual orientation.
The homeowners intended to bank on an insurance claim of more than $276,000, American National and Casulty Company alleged in court documents obtained by the News Sentinel.
The target of their stunt was Janice Millsaps, a neighbor whom the Stuttes accused in news reports and a lawsuit of threatening to kill them and burn their house down.
“Do you know what is better than one dead queer? Two dead queers,” is what the Stuttes accused Millsap of saying one month before the Sept. 4 blaze that destroyed their home.
The word “queers” was scrawled across their garage during the fire.
Millsap was never charged in connection to the ensuing accusations even as the FBI and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation stepped into the probe.
The alleged hate crime garnered sympathy for the residents of the small town from a local PFLAG chapter after Laura Stutte described knowing who the arsonist was two weeks after losing their home.
“We know who wrote those threats,” Stutte told the Metro Pulse. “Anyone who could go so far as to paint those hateful letters and burn someone else’s house down, they are really disturbed.”
I’d have to agree with Laura Stutte. Whoever did this is a seriously disturbed individual. Especially since this couple were the ones who did it to themselves and then pretended to be victims of a hate crime, all so that they could garner sympathy from the public and cash in from the insurance company.
But like every other case like this involving a hoax hate crime, things don’t turn out well for the actual perpetrators.
What they did was insurance fraud, by definition. The lawsuit was filed against the couple by their insurance company so that they wouldn’t have to pay out $276,000 to a couple of fraudsters. But so far, criminal charges haven’t been filed against the couple for what they did, and they had already gotten over $11,000 from the LGBT community in donations. I guess they have lesbian privilege.