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Halawa woman pleads not guilty to arson

By Star-Advertiser Staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:43 a.m. HST, Apr 15, 2014



A 46-year-old woman will face criminal charges next month for allegedly trying to burn a poster created by her husband which got out of control and destroyed the couple's Halawa Heights home in March.

Loraine Casanova entered a plea of not guilty Monday before Circuit Court Judge Randal Lee on charges of second-degree arson and harassment of a police officer. Second-degree arson is a Class B felony with a maximum jail term of 20 years.

Her trial will begin the week of June 16 before Circuit Judge Glenn Kim. She remains in custody at Oahu Community Correctional Center unable to post $25,000 bond.

Police arrested Casanova on suspicion of starting a fire in the unit she and her husband rented at 99-1156 Halawa Heights Road March 23 that caused $15,000 worth of damage.

According to a police affidavit, Casanova told a fire investigator that she and her husband were having "marital problems."

The suspect said she went to the bedroom, tore a poster her husband had made for her and set it on fire with a "Bic" lighter, the affidavit said.

However, the suspect said she changed her mind and placed it on a stool and thought she had extinguished the blaze. Thinking the fire had been extinguished, the suspect placed the poster on a dresser and left the room, the affidavit said.

When the suspect returned she saw a stool and a dresser on fire and used a bucket and shower hose to douse the flames.

By then the fire had spread to the bed, walls and furniture within the bedroom.

The fire was reported at 4:12 p.m. Sunday in the ground floor unit of the two-story structure. The suspect was the only person at home at the time, police said.

The fire was contained to the first-floor unit.

No injuries were reported.

The harassment charge occurred the following night when a police officer tried to question Casanova about the fire. 

The suspect was sitting in a truck in the parking lot of the Stadium Market Place on Salt Lake boulevard around 8 p.m. March 24.

According to the police affidavit, Casanova allegedly yelled obscenities to the officer and "flicked" the cigarette she had been smoking at the officer. The suspect refused to leave the truck and struggled with the arresting officer before she could be handcuffed.






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