Casper Women’s Clinic Arson Suspect Hears Charge, Ordered Jailed for Now
The Casper woman accused of setting fire to the Wellspring Wyoming Health Access Clinic last year heard her rights and the arson charge during her initial appearance in federal court in Cheyenne on Monday.
Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, heard the sole count of "arson of a facility engaged in interstate commerce" from U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin, according to the minutes of the nine-minute hearing.
If convicted, and depending on federal sentencing guidelines, Green faces between five and 20 years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised probation after her release from custody.
Green is presumed innocent.
The charge is based on the criminal complaint written by an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Rankin ordered Green temporarily detained.
Her preliminary hearing and formal detention hearing is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday via Zoom videoconference with U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Hambrick.
Two days ago, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Sprecher filed a motion for pre-trial detention.
This case is eligible for a detention hearing because Green is accused of committing a crime of violence and there's a serious risk she will flee, according to the motion.
The reasons for detention are to guaranteed that Green will appear in court as required and for the safety of any other person and the community, according to the motion.
Casper attorney Ryan Semerad is representing Green.
She was arrested after a 10-month investigation that began early May 25 when a man living in an apartment next to the Wellspring clinic, 918 E. Second St., heard glass breaking and saw a woman wearing a hoody and carrying a gas can and trash bag,
The man reported the incident.
Casper police arrived at 3:49 a.m., where they found a broken window, saw smoke coming from the northeast corner of the building. Police called the Casper Fire-EMS Department, which put out the fire.
Later that morning, a detective spoke with the president of Circle of Hope, doing business as Wellspring Wyoming Health Access - a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
The president said construction was nearing completion at clinic, which was scheduled to open June 14 and provide OB/GYN services, gender affirming care and abortion services. (The clinic now is expected to open next month.)
The president also said contractors recently installed security cameras.
Police evidence technicians took photos of the building, smoke and fire damage, aluminum turkey baster pans, and a 5-gallon gas can that was not the property of the contractors.
A police detective secured the security system with five cameras and analyzed the data before the fire. They showed only one suspect, two identical gas cans, and an unknown light-colored passenger car traveling on the alley north of the clinic and on South McKinley Street.
Reviews of the camera data also showed the suspect's movements in and around the building, her jeans, and her Nike brand tennis shoes.
The detective later determined the vehicle was a 2003 or 2004-2008 silver or gold Toyota Corolla with black trim.
Law enforcement authorities released some pictures of the suspect, but most of the results of the above video surveillance were not released to the public.
The investigation stalled until March 3 when the Casper Police Department re-released a previous press release seeking tips about the crime, adding an anonymous donor contributed $10,000 to the existing $5,000 reward.
Police received 12 leads, four of which identified Green as the suspect.
The detective compared the video images with pictures of Green, and found she owned a beige 2007 Toyota Corolla.
On Tuesday, agents from the Casper Police Department, FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives executed search warrants at Green's family home in the 5100 block of East 16th Street.
They found the Toyota and the shoes shown in the video.
Green told officers she was in Laramie on May 24, bought gas cans and aluminum pans at Walmart, drove directly to the clinic in Casper, broke into the building, poured gas in the pans she set in the building, lit one pan and left after the fire was too big. She drove nonstop back to Laramie.
They also showed Green photos of the arsonist at the clinic scene and photos on her Instagram account.
"When asked if she was the person depicted in the scene, Green stated she was," according to the criminal complaint.