May 4—LEWISTON — A local woman who set a baby stroller on fire last fall admitted to arson and other charges Thursday.
Kris Burgess, 32, was sentenced in 8th District Court to four years in prison, with all of the time suspended except for nine months and one day.
She appeared by videoconference from Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn.
Burgess also pleaded guilty to other charges stemming from the Nov. 24, 2022, crime, including criminal mischief and terrorizing, but will serve those lesser sentences during her time on the arson conviction.
After her release, she’ll be on probation for two years during which she’ll be barred from having any incendiary devices and must undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment. She’s prohibited from having any alcohol or drugs.
She must have no contact with any victims and witnesses, Judge Jennifer Archer said.
Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Winter said a burning stroller was reported on the porch of an apartment building on Summer Street.
The stroller belonged to the girlfriend of Burgess’ ex-boyfriend, Winter said.
Burgess had been texting the couple threatening messages.
She also smashed the window of the woman’s apartment and threatened the woman at the scene.
Police found a shirt wrapped around the stroller and had been set on fire. Police also recovered a lighter and two bottles of lighter fluid from the spot where the stroller had been located before it had been moved off the porch by a tenant.
Burgess also admitted Thursday to charges stemming from an encounter with Auburn police in September.
She pleaded guilty to assault on an officer, a felony, for which she was sentenced to nine months and a day, to be served at the same time as the arson sentence. She also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of refusing to submit to arrest or detention, terrorizing and two counts of assault. She will serve lesser sentences on those charges at the same time as the arson sentence.
In that case, Winter said Burgess tried to get into a house, then she ran down the street, opened the door of a parked car and asked if she could take the car.
The woman inside said, “No.”
Burgess threatened the woman’s life before fleeing, Winter said.
The woman’s fiancé saw Burgess then try to steal a bicycle and intervened when she tried to get into another house.
When police arrived, they witnessed her jump a fence trying to flee.
An officer tried to handcuff her, but she was “extremely uncooperative” and screamed obscenities at police, then kicked them and spat on them, Winter said.
She pinched the leg of an officer, causing a small abrasion, Winter said.
The woman whose stroller Burgess set on fire wrote a letter to the judge that read, in part: “I have PTSD from shock and trauma … and I’ve experienced extreme nightmares the past six months. It’s been a long road.”
Winter said the woman who was in the car that Burgess tried to take also suffered emotional trauma from that encounter.
“I do want to apologize to all the victims,” Burgess said. “I would never wish to do that (inflict trauma on) someone knowingly and intentionally.”
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