New trial date set for man charged with girls’ slayings

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GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa  A judge has set a new trial starting date for a man charged with murder and arson in Guthrie County.

Court records say the new date of Sept. 17 was filed Friday. The old date was May 8.

The judge already has granted a motion from the attorneys for 27-year-old Patrick Thompson to move the trial to another county. The judge hasn’t yet announced which county that will be.

Thompson has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of arson.

The May 15 fire in Guthrie Center killed 16-year-old Shakiah Cockerham and 12-year-old Melanie “Paige” Exline and injured their uncle, William Long III, and grandmother, Shirley Exline.