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Arson

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A woman has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for trying to set fire to a 7-Eleven store in St. Louis during a 2020 protest that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Twenty-seven-year-old Nautica Turner pleaded guilty in February to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit arson. She was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Federal prosecutors say that on June 1, 2020, Turner poured lighter fluid to start a fire at a 7-Eleven store in the downtown area of St. Louis. Her attempts failed but someone else later started a fire that burned the convenience store to the ground.

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A judge has set bail at $5 million for a man suspected of killing four people in the small northeast Nebraska town of Laurel last week. Court records show 42-year-old Jason Jones would have to put up 10% — or $500,000 — to be released from jail while he awaits trial on four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson and four weapons counts. Police say Jones killed his neighbor, 53-year-old Michele Ebeling, early Thursday morning then went to a nearby home and killed 86-year-old Gene Twiford; his wife, 85-year-old Janet Twiford; and their 55-year-old daughter, Dana Twiford. Police say Jones set fire to both houses, severely burning himself in the process. He remains hospitalized in a Lincoln burn unit.

Nearly a half-century after arson killed 32 people in a New Orleans gay bar, the City Council has renewed the search for the remains of four victims — three of them never identified. The motion written by Council member J.P. Morrell directs the city attorney, property management director and chief administrative officer to provide “all reasonable assistance” and legal entry to the land where they were buried. The motion notes that “the City’s callous and deeply inadequate response ... rooted in pervasive anti-gay sentiment” made suffering worse for victims’ families and friends. The council issued a formal apology for that response on June 23 — one day before the fire's 49th anniversary.

Two teenagers have been charged with arson for allegedly setting a May fire at a shuttered suburban Chicago resort that took firefighters a full day to extinguish. The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office says the two boys face charges of arson, burglary, criminal damage to property and three counts of criminal trespass. The Beacon-News of Aurora reports that two other boys have been charged with trespassing at the former Pheasant Run Resort before the May 21 fire. More than 100 firefighters from more than two dozen fire departments were called to help extinguish the blaze about 35 miles west of downtown Chicago. The resort had closed in March 2020.

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An alleged arsonist who reportedly ignited wildfires in a remote, forested corner of Oregon was apprehended by three local residents and tied to a tree until police arrived. Federal, state and county authorities responded to a radio call from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management employee who reported a man was walking along a gravel road and setting fires, in the forest some 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass. Curry County Sheriff John Ward says ground crews, assisted by local residents, and three helicopters quickly got the two fires under control. The alleged arsonist is jailed under $100,000 bond.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. The June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson ruling is expected to lead to bans or deep restrictions in about half the states. In anticipation of the decision and since then, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

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Navy leaders have disciplined more than 20 senior officers and sailors in connection with widespread leadership and other failures that contributed to the July 2020 arson fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard. The most significant actions were taken against members of the ship’s leadership team, including letters of reprimand and pay cuts for the former commander and executive officer. And Navy Secretary Del Toro issued a letter of censure to retired Vice Adm. Richard Brown, who was the commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet at the time of the fire.

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