Alleged arsonist plans to take polygraph test

Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 4:25 PM

Dressed in all black, James Alexander waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday on arson charges.

Alexander, 20, of Cortez was charged in September with three counts of arson in connection to a May 14 blaze at the Family Dollar Store. Free on a $25,000 bond, Alexander is scheduled to take a polygraph test with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations on Dec. 9, said his attorney, Becky Briggs.

Because of concerns of reliability, Colorado criminal courts have concluded that polygraph results are not admitted in criminal proceedings.

After waiving his right to a preliminary hearing, Montezuma County Court Judge JenniLynn Lawrence automatically bound the case over to district court. Alexander will now face Chief District Court Judge Doug Walker at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 17, for arraignment on a lone count of first-degree arson and two counts of fourth-degree arson.

According to a CBI agent, an unknown accelerant was used at four points of origin in connection to the May 14 inferno. An employee of the store told police the fire was not accidental.

Alexander reportedly worked as an assistant manager at the Family Dollar store for about a week before the blaze. Reports also revealed that at least two other fires occurred inside the store within days of the May 14 blaze.

Family Dollar is part of the Cortez Plaza shopping center on East Main Street, behind First National Bank. The interior of the building sustained heavy smoke damage, and some structural integrity was lost as a result of the May 14 fire.

About 30 local and area firefighters responded to battle the blaze. No injuries were reported.