Pennsylvania Woman Imprisoned For Setting Fires In National Park And Forest
A Pennsylvania woman who set fires in a national park and forest in western Wyoming will spend more than four years behind bars, a federal judge ruled today.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson sentenced Stephanie Joy Nicole Dodson to 53 months of imprisonment on two counts of setting fires in Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest in 2016.
The U.S. Attorney's Office dismissed six other counts. The sentences will be served concurrently, or at the same time.
Johnson also ordered her to be placed on three years of supervised probation after her release from custody, and to pay $105,712.68 in restitution.
A federal grand jury indicted her on July 20, and charged her with the identical eight felony counts of "timber set afire." The indictment only outlined the dates, places and names of the fires.
Dodson pleaded guilty to the two counts in October.
If the case had gone to trial and Dodson was convicted on all counts, she could have faced up to 40 years of imprisonment.
Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Mark Trimble said in July that Dodson was working on a dude ranch at the time the fires were set, with six of them set in the forest on the same day.
She apparently returned to Pennsylvania.
On July 24, U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl issued a warrant for Dodson's arrest. She was arrested in Pennsylvania on Aug. 17, appeared in federal court in Pennsylvania, and was transferred to Wyoming, according to court records.
Skavdahl ordered her detained because of a potentially long sentence, her past criminal history, her history of alcohol or substance abuse, and lack of ties in Wyoming.
She is from Everett, Pa., in Bedford County in central Pennsylvania.
Bedford County Attorney Bill Higgins, Jr., said Dodson was well-known there. "We have a number of incidents over the years on drug and alcohol offenses."