Byline: Tony Gordon Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer
Daniel Jayne said it was so hot in his bedroom, he woke up thinking the window air conditioner had stopped working.
"I put my hand out in front of the air conditioner and could tell it was still blowing cold air," Jayne said Thursday. "Then I looked out the window and saw that it was glowing outside."
It was early in the morning of July 18, 1987, and flames were whipping through the horse stable directly underneath Jayne's bedroom.
He recounted the events of that morning from the witness stand in a Lake County courtroom, where prosecutors are attempting to convict him of arson, saying he started the blaze that killed 23 horses at the Garvey Equestrian Center in Prairie View.
Jayne, 33, of Morton Grove, said he left the barn between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., went upstairs to his apartment and fell asleep after watching some television.
When he woke up, he said, his room was "hazy," and when he stood up he could see a car parked outside the barn.
"I realized the barn was on fire and I thought someone in that car may have had something to do with it," Jayne said. "I pulled on my pants, ran downstairs and found out it was a policeman who said he was going to call the fire department."