OCT. 19, 2008 - Investigators section off a portion of downtown Kansas City as they investigate a fire that broke out in the early-morning hours at Hereford House
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The ex-wife of one of three suspects charged in a destructive arson fire at an iconic Kansas City steak house took the stand on Thursday. She told the court he came home the night of the fire beet-red and screaming.
Jennifer Sorrentino testified Thursday that she and then-husband Mark Sorrentino spent Oct. 19, 2008 at Argosy Casino for her birthday.
She said they arrived home around 9:30 p.m., and a while later, she said Mark told her he had to leave "to take care of a few things.”
She said Mark left with Vince Pisciotta, and she woke up later that night when her husband came home screaming her name like something was wrong. She said he had his shirt off and was beet-red.
Jennifer Sorrentino, who identified Mark Sorrentino and Pisciotta in surveillance images from the Hereford House, said she didn't know the fire happened until a year later, but didn't tell FBI agents about the night of Oct. 19, 2008 until 2010 after she and Mark had separated. Mark Sorrentino filed for divorce June 2011.
The house the couple shared went into foreclosure and under cross-examination, Jennifer Sorrentino admitted she had told FBI agents she had 'no money and no place to go' in previous interviews.
Jennifer Sorrentino did file to receive the $10,000 reward offered in the Hereford House fire and received cash.
"You needed the money so bad, you would say anything,” Defense attorneys asked her Thursday. “Isn't that true?"
Jennifer emphatically answered, “No.”
Court abruptly stopped when defense attorneys asked if she was lying to get reward money because the divorce and home foreclosure left her with nothing. They asked if she was really asleep or at 7th Street Casino.
Court records show her player card was used that night during the times Jennifer claimed to be at home asleep. She said she shares her card with others but was not there that night.
We also learned Rod Anderson infused almost $300,000 into the business from credit cards just four months before the arson.
Prosecutors are expected to rest their case tomorrow.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.