A woman who admitted helping another man torch a Newman Lake home two years ago will spend four months in jail, a Superior Court Judge decided last week.
Marilyn Edith McCallister, who originally was charged with first-degree arson, pled guilty to a lesser charge of attempted second-degree arson last Thursday. Judge Kenneth H. Kato ordered McCallister to report to the Spokane County Jail on Jan. 6 to begin serving her sentence.
McCallister also must spend a year on probation and pay restitution for her part in sparking the fire. The amount of restitution will be determined later, according to court records. Eric Olson, Valley Fire deputy fire marshal, said the amount could be as high as $50,000.
McCallister and John Allen Albright were arrested on first-degree arson charges last summer. Court records show McCallister’s daughter - then 16 - drove Albright and McCallister to a house at 26618 E. Nebraska on April 18, 1994.
John got out of the car and set the house on fire, court records state.
In a written statement to the judge, McCallister admitted to knowing Albright planned to set the house on fire, buying the gasoline to help him do it and assisting him in starting the blaze.
“I helped rip my daughter’s dress to make a wick for the bottle with gas in it,” McCallister wrote.
Valley Fire investigators determined the blaze was the work of an arsonist after finding burn patterns consistent with the use of an accelerant, such as gasoline.
Revenge was McCallister’s motive for helping set the blaze, according to court records.
McCallister and her family were evicted from the house when it was repossessed several months before the fire. The house was sold and the new owners were supposed to begin moving in the day of the fire, according to court records.
McCallister’s daughter, who was not charged, told authorities “her mother was very upset over the eviction and stated that if she couldn’t have (the house), no one else could,” court records state. She went on to say that her mother told Albright several times that “she still had insurance on the dwelling and if it burnt (sic) down, she would get money and split it with him.”
Albright is awaiting trial next month. As part of McCallister’s plea agreement, she is expected to testify against Albright, Olson said.