A Wyoming woman who burned down an abortion clinic has been sentenced to five years in prison and three years of probation.
Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, received the minimum possible sentence from U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson for the 2022 arson at Wellspring Health Access in Casper.
The clinic had not opened yet, but was slated to be the first full-service abortion provider in the state. The fire was started weeks before it was set to open.
The arson delayed the clinic’s opening for nearly a year.
On the evening of the arson, Green snuck inside and poured gasoline around the inside of the building before lighting it ablaze.
“You are a talented and gifted person,” Johnson told her. “You are entitled to your opinions, whatever they may be, but those opinions do not justify in any respect the terror that was caused.”
Approximately 20 people went to the court in support of Green, and both the defense and prosecution agreed that she deserved the minimum sentence for the crime. The judge noted during sentencing that he received a “remarkable” number of letters supporting her and urging leniency.
In addition to the prison sentence, Green will also have to pay “very, very substantial” restitution, though the amount has not yet been decided. Judge Johnson said that the amount will be “well over $280,000,” according to a report from the Associated Press.
During the trial, Green’s attorney Ryan Semerad argued that she was not trying to make a political statement, or cause fear, but could not handle her own emotions about the clinic. She suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression and said that she had been having nightmares about the clinic.
Part of the reason for the leniency appeared to be Green’s childhood, during which she is said to have suffered “emotional and physical abuse” and “control and manipulation by her parents” who “talked down” to her.
“You are a complex person,” Judge Johnson told her during the sentencing, according to the AP report.
Wellspring founder and President Julie Burkhart also said that she had felt sorry for Green.
“In a way, my heart breaks for the defendant. She made a terrible choice and committed a heinous crime,” Burkhart said.
The Associated Press reports, “Burkhart once worked closely with Dr. George Tiller, a Wichita, Kansas, abortion doctor who was assassinated at church in 2009. Four years after his murder, Burkhart helped to reopen Tiller’s clinic.”
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, multiple laws have passed banning abortion in the state — however, the procedure remains legal while lawsuits challenging them are being heard.