ASPEN, Colo. — A judge has ruled that key evidence against the defendants accused of causing the Lake Christine fire near Basalt over the summer last year cannot be submitted as evidence.

The Lake Christine Fire burned more than 12,000 acres and destroyed three homes, a barn, and an outbuilding. Investigators said they believe it was caused by 24-year-old Richard Miller and 23-year-old Allison Marcus.

Richard Miller, 23 and Allison Marcus, 22.
Eagle County Sheriff's Office

According to prosecutors, Miller admitted to law enforcement in July that his girlfriend was using incendiary tracer rounds borrowed from Miller's father. 

Miller and Marcus both face felony arson charges in the case.

Heidi McCollum, assistant district attorney for the 5th Judicial District in Colorado, told 9NEWS that the defense filed a motion to preclude the sign posted at the Basalt rifle range warning against the use of tracer rounds as evidence.

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According to the Aspen Daily News, the sign was a rule for the rifle range, but not one approved by the state. The sign approved by the state did not specifically bar tracer rounds while a smaller, less formal sign included the rule. Both signs can be seen in the Aspen Daily News article.

The District Attorney's Office disagrees with the judge's ruling in the case and has filed a motion to stay criminal proceedings in the case while they seek redress on that issue.

According to McCollum, they expect to petition the Colorado Supreme Court to take up the matter by next Tuesday, May 21.

The judge has not ruled on the prosecution's motion to stay the trial, so it is still set to start as scheduled. 

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