October 20th, 2020

Woman guilty of arson won’t get more jail time


By Shurtz, Delon on January 23, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 28-year-old woman who robbed a city gas station and convenience store last August and set fire to two residences a few days later, has been sentenced for arson.

Tila Bailey Scout, who pleaded guilty in October to two counts of arson, was sentenced Wednesday in Lethbridge provincial court to five months in jail. The sentence, however, will run concurrently with a 30-month prison term she received in December for robbing the gas station, so she will not serve any additional time behind bars.

The Crown had recommended Scout receive a six-month sentence, which would run consecutively to the other sentence, but Lethbridge lawyer Jeremy DeBow urged the judge to make the sentence concurrent.

DeBow argued Scout did not have a criminal record before the 2019 offences, and said an additional six months in jail would be unnecessary since she is unlikely to repeat the offence.

“She’s not an arsonist,” he said.

Scout set fire to a fourplex on 9 Avenue North by placing several items inside an oven, including an aerosol can, toilet paper, coffee filters and clothing. She turned on the oven and started a fire causing about $35,000 in damage. On the same day, only a couple of blocks away, she lit a fire in the bedroom of her aunt’s residence. Damage to her home is estimated at about $20,000.

DeBow pointed out his client is embarrassed by her actions, and was going through a rough time in her life, during which she hit rock bottom and “just broke down.”

Crown prosecutor Clayton Giles noted, however, Scout caused more than $55,000 in combined damages from the two fires and put the lives of others at risk. He said he’s not sure why she set the fires, but suggested it might have been a misguided attempt to destroy evidence relating to the robbery.

DeBow said Scout did not have any criminal intent and is remorseful.

After ruminating for some time on whether to hand Scout a consecutive or concurrent sentence, Judge Jerry LeGrandeur decided not to make her serve more time. He acknowledged Scout’s difficult upbringing and her addictions to alcohol and drugs, and gave her credit for her previously clean record. He also didn’t order her to make restitution for damages, noting she does not have the ability to pay.

Scout remains in custody while she serves her sentence for robbery, to which she pleaded guilty Dec. 20, along with charges of being disguised to commit an indictable offence, and using an imitation firearm while committing an indictable offence.

Scout and another individual were wearing masks when they entered the Circle K/Esso gas station in the 300 block of Bluefox Boulevard North about 4:50 a.m. Aug. 16.

Scout waived a “gun-like” object around and the couple made off with cigarettes, a small amount of cash and some gasoline. The incident was recorded by a surveillance camera, and when Scout was arrested she confessed to police and admitted she is the one who brought the gun.

Although sentenced to 30 months, she was given credit fot 179 days already spent in custody, reducing her time to 24 months.

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