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August 21, 2007
An Ohio woman who set her neighbors’ homes on fire because she was upset with their behavior and loud music was sentenced to four years in prison.
Johanna Morrison, 50, has mental health problems and didn’t understand the downside to what she was doing, said her attorney, James Gentile.
Fire investigators said they believe Morrison is responsible for as many as 13 fires in her neighborhood dating back to April 2006 until she was arrested last October. No one was injured but some of the homes were damaged so severely that they had to be abandoned.
Morrison told Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge John Durkin during her sentencing hearing that she’s been taking the antidepressant drug Prozac while in jail and that her mental health has improved.
She also apologized for setting fires. “I did not know what I was doing,” she said. “I feel the remorse. I was always afraid something bad would happen. I tried to stop myself but I couldn’t.”
Morrison pleaded guilty June 21 to four counts of aggravated arson and two counts of arson. A judge had found her competent to stand trial.
Gentile said his client’s goal was to rid the neighborhood of non-law abiding persons.
“In her mind, she thought this was the only way she could make the neighborhood a better place,” he said.