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Woman accused of arson released

Wed., Sept. 5, 2012

Judge cites lack of paperwork; new warrants likely

Because investigators failed to turn over required paperwork, a judge on Tuesday ordered the release of a 33-year-old woman suspected of trying to torch a taxi and a building on the Riverpoint campus.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese told Daniele L. Williamson that she would be freed following an afternoon court appearance where prosecutors had intended to seek her detention on two counts of arson, attempted first-degree robbery, armed first-degree burglary and third-degree theft. She was arrested Sunday night just after the fires were discovered, shortly after 10 p.m., according to the Spokane Fire Department.

Williamson was in the process of being released Tuesday night, according to a jail employee.

Investigators were expected to file new arrest warrants on her once that paperwork is complete, Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.

“It’s a formality but we will get to the bottom of” why the paperwork was not turned over, he said.

The investigation began late Sunday when firefighters responded to the report of a fire at the Washington State University Riverpoint complex.

Records say Williamson attempted to start a taxicab van on fire while she was its passenger.

“It sounds like she put some sort of combustible on the gas spout. (The fire) didn’t go any further than the gas spout,” he said. “It could have been an explosive situation. Fortunately for us, it wasn’t.”

After leaving the van, Williamson entered the Health and Sciences Building at 310 N. Riverpoint Blvd. and started two fires by igniting piles of paper, Schaeffer said.

“The fires were recognizable, but it doesn’t sound like they caused much damage,” he said.

Before leaving, Williamson pulled two fire alarms, Schaeffer said, adding that Williamson also claimed to have a bomb in a backpack even though none was found.

Schaeffer said investigators did not initially list any motive for her behavior and said he didn’t believe she is a student.

“The report on the system here doesn’t indicate anything but a very mad female,” he said.

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