High court upholds Dees’ Tippah County convictions

By Patsy R. Brumfield
Daily Journal

RIPLEY – Regina Dees’ 2012 convictions for arson and insurance fraud were upheld Thursday by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

In a 9-0 decision written by Justice David Chandler, the court said sufficient evidence existed for a reasonable jury to agree that she set fire to her Ripley home and defrauded her insurance company about an alleged burglary.

For the arson, Dees was sentenced by Circuit Judge Robert W. Elliott to 10 years with two years to serve and eight years suspended. On the insurance fraud, she was sentenced to two years to serve with the arson sentence.

Dees appealed, claiming the jury did not have enough evidence to support both convictions.

The appeals court disagreed, saying evidence supported a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that she set the fire, and that her financial situation and discovery that she still had items she reported stolen, were enough for motive.

She also was ordered to pay restitution and fees totaling $7,706.