Oklahoma Woman Pleads Guilty to Arson

July 10, 2008

A guilty plea has been entered by a Perkins, Okla., woman accused of trying to set fire to her mobile home with her granddaughter inside.

Jonna Rae Murrell, 37, was scheduled to go to trial July 8 on a charge of attempted first-degree arson. Instead, she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of felony fourth-degree arson.

Murrell was jailed for about five months with bail set at $50,000. She was released on a personal recognizance bond after she entered a plea to the reduced charge.

Murrell agreed to a plea bargain that will have her receiving five years probation at her Aug. 18 sentencing before Special District Judge Phillip Corley, court records show.

Murrell was drunk at the time of the February incident in the Piney River Trailer Park west of Perkins, defense attorney Virginia Banks of Stillwater told the Tulsa World.

Murrell has a history of mental illness but was found competent to face an arson charge, court records show. She now is on medication, seems to be doing well, and has returned to live with her daughter and granddaughter, Banks said.

Murrell was accused of placing a 5-gallon gas can under her mobile home on Feb. 2 and lighting it while the trailer was occupied by her 8-month-old granddaughter.

State Fire Marshal’s Agent Terry Smith testified at a preliminary hearing that he found no evidence of a fire or explosion at the home.

State law defines fourth-degree arson as the placing or distributing of any flammable, explosive or combustible material or substance in any building or property with intent to eventually willfully and maliciously set fire to or burn.

Information from: Tulsa World, www.tulsaworld.com

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