Former Ripley resident to serve time on convictions for arson, insurance fraud

By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel

RIPLEY – Regina Dees will serve time after being sentenced on arson and insurance fraud charges Friday morning, March 9.

Circuit Court Judge Robert W. Elliott sentenced Dees, 51, to 10 years with eight of it suspended on the first degree arson charge. He sentenced her to two years with none of it suspended for insurance fraud. The sentences will run concurrently.

She must also pay a total of $7,706.24 in fines and restitution to the District Attorney’s office, Farm Bureau Insurance and Ripley volunteer Fire Department.

She was formerly of Ripley but recently of the Memphis area.

A Tippah County jury late Friday afternoon, Feb. 17 convicted her on the two charges.

Her bond was revoked at that time, and she was placed in the Tippah County Jail. Sentencing was deferred until Friday until a pre-trial investigation was completed.

The insurance fraud conviction involves a Jan. 11, 2008 incident, while the arson conviction involves an Oct. 6, 2008 situation, according to records.

Dist. Attorney Ben Creekmore presented the state’s case with assistance from Dakota Moore, who is working under Ole Miss Law School Prosecution Externship. Tupelo attorney Brandon Leslie represented Dees.

A jury was seated Monday, Feb. 13, and trial began later that day. The prosecution called 11 witnesses before resting its case. The defense began its case Friday and called two witnesses before resting before dinner. The case went to the jury minutes after 2 p.m., and the jury returned a unanimous verdict about 5:38 p.m.