Federal jury deliberates fate of men charged in 2008 Hereford House fire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The case against three men charged with setting fire to a Kansas City landmark in 2008 is in the hands of the jury.

The jury took the case on Tuesday.

Prosecutors told jurors that Rod Anderson hired Vince Pisciotta and Mark Sorrentino to burn down the Hereford House for insurance money because Anderson was out of options and money.

The three men are charged with arson, mail fraud, conspiracy and using fire to commit a federal crime.

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They said he was guilty because surveillance video shows Anderson planning the arson with Pisciotta weeks before. Prosecutors said the video also showed Anderson giving Pisciotta restaurant keys and an alarm code. Anderson later claimed he did not know the man receiving the keys.

Prosecutors said Anderson didn't know the VCR under the surveillance video was not the real recording device. They said the suspects looked directly into the cameras the night of the arson because they never thought any surveillance video would survive.

But defense attorneys insisted the only thing clear about that video is how unclear it is -- leaving no way to positively identify Pisciotta and Sorrentino.

They also attacked the prosecution's star witness, Sorrentino's ex-wife Jennifer Sorrentino, who identified her then-husband and Pisciotta in the arson surveillance video.

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She testified that Sorrentino came home the night of the arson reeking of gasoline. The defense questioned her motive, pointing out the couple is now divorced, and she had received a $10,000 reward for the information.

Jennifer Sorrentino's testimony was kept secret until the trial for her safety after the FBI revealed both Pisciotta and Sorrentino had connections to organized crime.

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