Plea deal in deadly mid-rise fire

October 27, 2008 3:06:43 PM PDT
More than a year after a deadly mid-rise office building fire in northeast Houston, the woman accused of setting that fire has admitted her guilt. In court Monday morning, Misty Weaver entered a guilty plea and also asked the families of her victims for forgiveness.

Nineteen months have passed since Weaver set that fire. Since then, she's been calling her parents' house her home. But starting in January of next year, she'll have to call a prison cell home for the next 25 years.

Weaver arrived in court Monday with her three attorneys. She dabbed her eyes and cried for most of the time as she changed her plea from not guilty to guilty.

It was in 2007 that Weaver admitted to setting the fire that led to the deaths of three individuals who worked in the buildings. Family members of the victims all agree on the plea deal of 25 years and agreed to allow Weaver to spend time with her two children, ages 13 and 7, over the holidays, until she turns herself back into the court system.

"The intent she had was to light a fire," said Assistant DA John Jocher. "The state of mind she had when she committed that act, we allege, is that she was reckless about whether or not another person could be injured. She committed an act, the language in the indictment, was that it was clearly dangerous to human life, namely igniting the fire."

No one in the case believes Weaver intended to hurt or kill anyone, just that she was trying to cover up an audit report she had not completed.

Prosecutors say the state of the building, the fact that it had a lack of fire detection and sprinkler system, was factored into the plea deal. The victims' families in this case are now suiting the owner of the building because of the lack of fire detection systems in the building. That could head to court in February of next year.

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