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SELECTION OF JURY BEGINS IN BOUNTIFUL-FIREBOMB TRIAL

SHARE SELECTION OF JURY BEGINS IN BOUNTIFUL-FIREBOMB TRIAL

Jury selection started Wednesday in 2nd District Court in the trial of Percy Kalt, charged with the March 6 firebombing of a Bountiful man's home in what prosecutors say is the aftermath of a failed stock deal.

Kalt, 58, of Provo, is charged with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, in the firebombing of penny stock promoter Mike Strand's home.Kalt also faces charges of extortion in Salt Lake County from what prosecutors say were his efforts to get Strand to repay $25,000 that Kalt, a retired music professor from Brigham Young University, lost in a gas and oil firm's stock.

Strand's home was firebombed about midnight March 6. Two gasoline-filled bottles were thrown at the house, with one landing harmlessly in a snowbank and the second crashing through a basement window.

That firebomb ignited a carpet and some furniture and caused minor damage to the house but none of the Strand family members, who were home at the time, were injured.

Kalt's trial is expected to run at least two days and possibly three, according to court officials.

Aggravated arson is a first-degree felony that carries a prison term of five years to life and fine of up to $10,000. The extortion charge Kalt faces in Salt Lake County is a second-degree felony, carrying a prison term of one to 15 years.

Defense attorney John O'Connell told Judge Douglas L Cornaby in a pretrial hearing last week that he and prosecutor Carvel Harward nearly reached an agreement on a plea negotiation but it fell through, making the jury trial necessary.