CLEARFIELD – A Clearfield woman accused of setting fire to a hotel room pleaded guilty Tuesday in Clearfield County Court.
Robin Lynn Miller, 40, 1208 S. Second St., Clearfield, currently an inmate of the jail, pleaded guilty to arson, possessing instruments of crime, simple assault, 12 counts of recklessly endangering another person, disorderly conduct and dangerous burning before President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman.
She was sentenced to 363 days to two years less one day in the county jail and two years consecutive probation. She was ordered to complete a mental health assessment and submit to DNA testing at a cost of $250. She was fined $107 plus costs and she must pay restitution of $500.
The charges stem from an incident June 26 in Lawrence Township when Miller set a fire inside her room at the Economy Inn Motel.
Prior to sentencing her attorney, Douglas Campbell argued for a county sentence rather than the probation office’s recommended state prison sentence.
He explained this was “extremely out of character” for Miller and pointed to her short previous criminal record.
The victim addressed the court explaining that Miller was not trying to hurt anyone. He agreed she should stay in the county jail and commented that they both need counseling regarding their children.
Ammerman commented that she could have “burned the whole place down” and referred to the incident as being “unbelievably stupid.” However, he said he wasn’t convinced that her intention was to burn the motel down. He stated that if he did send her to state prison it would only be because the jail is full.
“I can’t justify that,” Ammerman stated before announcing the sentence.
Miller addressed the court, apologizing for her actions and saying she wanted to get some help.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, police were dispatched to the Economy Inn Motel on Second Street in Clearfield for a structure fire inside room 106. When they arrived on the scene, a female was sitting outside the room on the sidewalk crying. An officer who entered the room saw that the fire was out, but there was still heavy smoke in the room.
The officer asked the woman, later identified as Miller, what happened. She stated that “I admit I went and got the kerosene can, took it to the room and dropped the lighter.” She was transported to the Lawrence Township police station for questioning.
While at the station, she said she wanted an attorney. The officer told her that was fine and he advised her not to talk to anyone without her attorney present. It was discovered that she was on probation and a representative of that office was contacted. It was determined that she should be taken to the jail and be held on a probation detainer.
One of the officers spoke with the victim who resided in the room with Miller. He said the two had been arguing about Miller’s son. She continued arguing with him about meaningless things through the evening, he said. He told her he was going to bed and they could talk about things in the morning.
As he was trying to sleep, he heard her “messing around” in the room. He rolled over and saw flames on the floor. He attempted to put the fire out with a pillow and blanket. He then jumped over the flames and ran outside to get a fire extinguisher. He was able to put the fire out, but he sustained a second-degree burn on his foot.
Police spoke to him again on July 10. He confirmed his previous statement. He explained Miller was upset that her son wouldn’t drive to the motel to see her. At one point, she said she would get him there “one way or the other.” He believed she thought that if she set a small fire, her son, a member of the Clearfield Volunteer Fire Department, would respond and she would be able to see him.
Evidence at the scene clearly showed that a combustible substance was poured across the floor to the door and on a chair. After this was done, she lit the floor area and this most likely also caught the chair on fire.