LETHBRIDGE: A sentence has been handed down to the second woman responsible for burning down the Van Haarlem apartment complex earlier this year.
25-year old Sheila May Crow Eagle pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced to two-years less a day, with credit for six months already served in pre-trial custody.
On February 1st, fire crews were called to the building in the 1200-block of 7th Avenue South, which was being used as a rooming house. An upper floor fire along with a basement fire caused significant damage and the building had to be completely torn down.
A short time later 40-year old Crystal Joyce Mills of Standoff and 25-year old Sheila May Crow-Eagle of Lethbridge were both arrested and charged.
Mills, who received a three year sentence last March for her role in the fire, admitted that during an argument with a resident of the building, she threatened to burn the building down with everyone in it.
At 4 o'clock the next morning she and Crow Eagle went into the structure and started three small fires, before going outside to watch. Mills acknowledged that they had both been drinking at the time. A smoke detector woke one of the residents, who quickly extinguished the fires and went back to bed.
Mills and Crow Eagle went back in at 5:30 that morning and started two more fires in the basement, and once again went outside to watch it burn. Again the smoke detector woke the same person who, after seeing the size of the blaze, started evacuating the building.
While a total of 25 people were living in the building at the time, fortunately only one person was injured. A man broke a femur after jumping from a window to escape the fire.
It was noted in court that Crow Eagle was simply following along, as she struggles with a number of issues, including severe FASD. The Crown stated that she's a very low functioning individual who has been abusing alcohol since the age of 12.