A woman accused of setting fire to an abortion clinic weeks away from opening in Wyoming was arrested Tuesday after a nearly yearlong search.
The Department of Justice said Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, of Casper, was taken into custody by Casper police and agents with the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Green is believed to be the suspect caught on camera setting the Wellspring Health Access Clinic in Casper on fire on May 25, 2022. The clinic, which was set to open on June 12, 2022, was supposed to offer OB/GYN care, gender-affirming care, and abortion procedures, the DOJ said.
Casper is Wyoming’s second-largest city and is the site of frequent protests against abortion. The building was being renovated and would have been the state’s only full-service abortion clinic.
WYOMING ABORTION CLINIC ARSON SUSPECT SEEN ON NEW VIDEO CARRYING GASOLINE INSIDE BEFORE FIRE
On the day of the fire witnesses told authorities they heard glass breaking and saw a person leaving the area with a gas can and a black bag in hand, Casper police reported.
Security footage released approximately a month later showed a woman in a hooded shirt and mask carrying what appeared to be a red fuel can through the building just before the blaze. No one was injured, but the clinic sustained smoke damage and broken windows, which has delayed its opening.
A few weeks ago on March 3, Casper police announced that an anonymous donor in the community was contributing an additional $10,000 to the ATF’s $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Casper police Lt. Jeff Bullard encouraged community members with information to come forward, adding that the “reasons” for starting the fire need to be disregarded because people were put in danger.
“It’s important to recognize that, regardless of the target or their reasons for starting the fire, the arsonist(s) put members of our community in direct peril,” Bullard said. “First responders, including firefighters, police officers, and paramedics, were immediately exposed to the dangers of extinguishing the fire and preventing its spread to neighboring buildings. Additionally, the residents and tenants of the occupied apartment complex, mere feet from the arsonist’s fire, were callously placed in harm’s way.”
ILLINOIS PLANNED PARENTHOOD FIRE BEING INVESTIGATED AS ARSON, POLICE SAY
Tips then started to come in, and authorities were led to Green.
“Now that a suspect has been arrested, we can continue our singular focus on providing quality reproductive health care to the Casper community in a safe, compassionate environment,” Wellspring President Julie Burkhart said in a statement to The AP.
The clinic’s grand opening was delayed to April 2023 but is now in limbo after Gov. Mark Gordon allowed a new law banning abortions in most circumstances to take effect without his signature on Sunday. The only exceptions are cases of rape or incest that are reported to the police, or if a woman’s life is at risk.
WYOMING JUDGE TO CONSIDER ALLOWING ABORTIONS TO RESUME AS SWEEPING BAN GETS CHALLENGED IN COURT
The AP reported Teton County District County Judge Melissa Owens suspended the ban for at least two weeks on Wednesday after those in favor of abortion rights said the law is harmful to pregnant women and their doctors during a hearing.
They also said it violates the state constitution, citing an amendment that says adults in Wyoming have the right to make their own healthcare decisions. Republicans fired back by enacting a ban that states abortion is not healthcare.
Green is scheduled to appear in federal court in Cheyenne on Thursday.
If convicted, she faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Read the full article here
Discussion about this post