Little Rock: Forest Place Apartments Arsonist Pleads Guilty

LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) – Lacey Rae Moore has pleaded guilty to starting the fire at Forest Place Apartments on University Avenue in Little Rock that resulted in the complete destruction of the North Building of the complex.

Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, made the announcement late Friday afternoon.

Moore entered her guilty pleas to two counts of arson before United States District Judge J. Leon Holmes.

“There is no way to restore what people lost in the fires set by Lacey Moore at Forest Place Apartments,” stated Thyer. “There is, however, some consolation in this plea today that Ms. Moore is being held responsible for the millions of dollars’ worth of damage to the destroyed buildings, the injuries to the two valiant firefighters and the displacement of residents as a result of the fires she started. I, again, want to commend the agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and all the members of the Little Rock Fire Department, Arkansas State Police and Little Rock Police Department for heroic efforts at saving lives and their investigative work on a puzzling string of fires. Ms. Moore has been stopped from setting additional fires and will have to pay for the damage she inflicted on so many innocent people in Little Rock.”

In February, Moore was indicted on seven counts of arson following an investigation into seven separate fires that broke out at Forest Place Apartments between February and June of 2013. An eighth count charged her with setting off an unregistered incendiary device at a private residence. The two counts to which Moore pleaded, Counts 4 and 7, stem from the two largest fires at Forest Place in 2013.

Moore pleaded guilty to starting the fire on May 16 (Count 4) that destroyed the North Building, resulting in the evacuation of more than 300 residents, permanently displacing 79 residents, leading to injuries to Little Rock firefighters and caused millions of dollars in damage. Moore also pleaded guilty to starting the fire in the South Building on June 28 (Count 7) that forced another 100 residents to be evacuated. As part of a plea deal, the remaining counts will be dismissed, although Moore said in the hearing today that she set all the fires and she accepts responsibility for paying the restitution owed for all seven Forest Place fires. To date, the amount of known restitution is more than $12.5 million

Moore faces a statutory sentencing range for starting the May 16, 2013, fire of at least 7 to 40 years imprisonment, and for the June 28, 2013, fire, of at least 5 to 20 years imprisonment. As part of the plea agreement, the United States and Moore agreed to recommend to the sentencing judge, United States District Judge Billy Roy Wilson, that the sentences run consecutively, for a minimum sentence of 12 years.

The investigation was conducted by the ATF, with substantial assistance from the Little Rock Fire Department, the Arkansas State Police and the Little Rock Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chris Givens.

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