Thompson sentenced to life in prison for murder by arson

Patrick Ryan Thompson, 27, was sentenced Friday to life in prison for the murder of Paige Exline and her cousin Shakiah Cockerham in an arson fire May 15, 2017, in Guthrie Center.

Paige was a sixth grader at Greene County Intermediate  School until shortly before the fire. She had moved into her grandmother Shirley Exline’s home in Guthrie Center amidst allegations she had been sexually abused by her brother Noah Exline and her father James Exline. 

Thompson is the stepson of James Exline Jr and the stepbrother of Noah and Paige Exline. The prosecution argued that Thompson set the fire to prevent Paige from testifying against his stepfather.

James Exline, age 47,  was sentenced last month to 75 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of two counts of sex abuse.

Noah Exline,  now age 20, is charged with seven counts of sex abuse against Paige. Those charges were made prior to the charges against his father James. Plea negotiations are in progress in that case.

The Honorable Brad McCall listened to emotional and sometimes tearful victim impact statements at the sentencing Friday. Thompson was given an opportunity to speak to those in the courtroom. He answered that he had nothing to say.

Thompson was also sentenced to 25 years in prison on the arson charge, consecutive to the life terms on the first degree murder charge.

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