Arson Suspect Enters Plea Of Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity
By: Mike Stiles - Wednesday, March 29, 2023

(photo courtesy of Pixabay)

(COLDWATER) – A woman arrested in connection with the arson of a Coldwater house almost two years ago has entered into a plea agreement.

Branch County Circuit Court officials say 59 year old Catherine Allen plead not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of second degree arson. Court officials say the plea was accepted, and under Michigan Law, Allen will be committed to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry for up to 60 days. Her mental condition will be examined and evaluated during that time.

The fire happened at 289 South Jefferson Street in Coldwater on May 18, 2021. The Coldwater Fire Department was called to the house around 10:30 AM, and eventually extinguished the blaze, with assistance from the Bronson, Quincy and Lakeland Fire Departments.

The two story house was considered a total loss.

A witness told Coldwater Police they saw Allen set fire to a one foot high stack of papers in the back room of the house and then leave the dwelling. Allen was arrested a short time later. She was charged with arson, but her arraignment was postponed so Allen could undergo mental evaluations.
Allen allegedly told investigators that the gods told her to burn the house down.


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