Arson charge dismissed with plea agreement
Published 12:08 pm Friday, December 8, 2017
An arson charge was dropped against a Clark County woman as part of a plea agreement to send her case to mental health court.
Anita Raleigh, 57, of 2783 Kiddville Road, was charged with first-degree arson and two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for starting a fire in her home on Aug. 31, 2015, with two of her grandchildren inside.
During a hearing in Clark Circuit Court Thursday, Raleigh said she didn’t remember setting the fire, but had no evidence to the contrary. Raleigh’s attorney Frederick Anderson said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disease and seizures.
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“I don’t recollect what I did,” Raleigh said in court. “I remember waking up in the yard.”
Clark County firefighters were called to Raleigh’s residence on Aug. 31, 2015, and found a double-wide mobile home fully engulfed in flames. Everyone in the home escaped without injury.
Witnesses later told deputies with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office that Raleigh got in an argument with someone in the home and threw lit papers on a bed. The fire then spread through the structure.
“It burned (the house) down,” Raleigh said.
Charges were filed against Raleigh in August 2016.
The mental health court program includes a rigorous program for people to work through some of the issues behind what led to their criminal activity.
Prosecutors offered to dismiss the arson charge, which carried a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, based on information they received during the history of the case. The recommended the maximum of five years for wanton endangerment, while probating it for five years to attend and complete mental health court.
Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue said if Raleigh graduates before the five years are up, the balance would be unsupervised probation.
Raleigh, who is free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 18, 2018.