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Report lays out case against LGBT activist

Posted at 12:26 PM, Oct 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-27 12:26:25-04

FOX 47 News has new information Friday night on the arson charges against a well-known gay rights activist in Jackson.

FOX 47 News has obtained the police report on the investigation into Nikki Joly.

The report shows police decided to charge Joly based on physical evidence and video showing Joly at a Marathon gas station on the day of the fire.

His lawyer told News 10 there's not enough there to prove Joly is guilty.

"There are a lot of people in a similar position that could've done this crime," said Andrew Abood, Joly's attorney.

The FBI first looked at the fire as a possible hate crime in August 2017. But investigators say cell phone records and psychical evidence eventually led them to the homeowner Nikki Joly. Surveillance video from a Marathon gas station shows he bought a tank of gas the day of the fire.

Records show Joly gassed up the mower and cut half the lawn before going back to work.

"Nobody would go through the effort of going to buy gasoline to mow their lawn who is planning to commit an arson; it doesn't make any sense, " said Abood.

Joly later stopped at home to grab his partner's lunch and check on their two German Shepherds. The couple also had three cats that died in the fire.

The fire started a few minutes after he left. Joly's lawyer calls it an unfortunate coincidence.

"They are pointing the finger at my client but there is no circumstance upon on which my client had any motive to light his house on fire," said Abood.

A neighbor told police within a few days after the fire, Joly asked to store the gas can at the neighbor's house.

He asked another neighbor to hold his lawn mower.

Police seized both as evidence.

Police said Joly stared at the ground the entire time he was questioned after the fire.

His partner, Chris Moore, was also questioned. She said there's no way Joly could have started a fire with the dogs inside the house.

Moore said it would be easier for Joly to kill her than to kill their pets.

Joly is due back in court next month where a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to put him on trial.

We will keep you updated.