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Ex-Foley Foe Charged With Arson Marlyn Derby Arrested After Fire At Estranged Spouse’s House

(From For the Record, June 17, 1997:) Name wrong: Alfred Derby is the husband of former congressional candidate Marlyn Derby. His name was incorrect in a story Monday about Marlyn Derby’s arrest on arson charges.

Former U.S. House candidate Marlyn Ann Derby was charged with first-degree arson on Saturday for allegedly starting a fire at the house where her estranged husband lives.

No one was injured and the house in the 4000 block of south Hogan Street sustained only minor damage.

Police arrested Derby after finding her name and address on one of the magazines used to start the fire, said police spokesman Dick Cottam. There was evidence the magazines were doused with gasoline, a police report said.

Derby, 59, and her husband, Spokane gynecologist Albert Derby, are in the midst of a divorce that has been going on for several years, said attorney and longtime family friend Russell Van Camp.

“In almost any case of this nature, a not-guilty plea is entered,” said Van Camp, who is acting only as her adviser.

Derby and her attorney, Dennis Cronin, could not be reached for comment Sunday.

The fire was discovered by Albert Derby around midnight on Friday, Cottam said.

Marlyn Derby was arrested a few hours later and held in jail until late Saturday night when she was bailed out, Van Camp said.

Asked if there’s an explanation for the fire, Van Camp said, “We don’t have a clue.”

Running on an anti-abortion platform, Derby made two unsuccessful bids against former House Speaker Tom Foley, D-Wash., in 1988 and 1990. She ran again in 1992, but was defeated in the Republican primary by John Sonneland.

In 1985, Derby made the news frequently for picketing the former Sixth Avenue Medical & Dental Building where several doctors performed abortions. Abortions are no longer performed there.

Derby, a leader in the Spokane anti-abortion movement, was arrested for violating a Superior Court judge’s order banning picketing in front of the building.

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