Woman Who Persuaded Juveniles In Motel Fire Avoids Prison

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A woman accused of convincing three juveniles to start a fire that caused $500,000 to a Pierre motel has avoided prison.

A judge has given Tracy St. John a suspended prison sentence, although she will have to spend another three months in jail. The August fire nearly destroyed the low-rent, long-term stay State Motel.

Her attorney Jeremy Lund argued the 38-year-old woman has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and is less culpable than the teens she persuaded to set a bed on fire.

The Capital Journal reports Judge John Brown said in court Tuesday that sending St. John to prison would be “simply warehousing her.” He ordered her to get in-patient treatment and pay the hotel owner $2,500.

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