Woman accused of setting fatal Gregg County fire found competent to stand trial

Woman accused of setting fatal Gregg County fire found competent to stand trial
Kimberly Bruton (Source: Kimberly Bruton)

GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas woman charged with arson causing bodily injury or death in connection with a 2018 apartment fire that claimed the lives of two people has been found competent for trial.

According to the 124th District Court in Gregg County, a doctor’s report was submitted to the court stating Kimberly Nicole Bruton, 34, of Longview, was deemed fit for trial. The court will declare her trial as a priority, meaning a date will be set soon and supersede some other cases.

Bruton was originally arrested in June of 2018 and charged with arson of a habitation. The fire occurred on March 9, 2018, at an apartment in the 100 block of Cherie Lane in Longview. Randall Russell and Lisa Tesmer died in the fire.

When Longview firefighters arrived at the scene of the fire on March 9, they found Bruton outside the residence with a bottle of charcoal lighting fluid in her hands, a search warrant stated. According to the warrant, Bruton told firefighters, “she was trying to start a fire in the fireplace.”

Bruton was booked by the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office on October 28. Her surety bond is $200,000.

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