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TX man on trial in ND in motel arson case

STEELE, N.D. (AP) -- A Texas man is on trial in North Dakota for allegedly burning down a motel in the town of Steele.

Fifty-one-year-old Allen Thomas, of Houston, has pleaded not guilty to one count of arson and 18 counts of endangering by fire. Authorities allege that Thomas used a cigarette lighter to ignite a mattress about a year ago because he was upset that the hotel owners had helped his girlfriend after the two had argued.

No one was hurt in the fire but it displaced about two dozen people and destroyed the business.

The prosecutor this week told jurors that Thomas set the fire out of anger, while the defense attorney said witness testimony will show that Thomas is innocent.

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