A Casper woman admitted to law enforcement she set fire to a local abortion clinic last year, saying she did it to resolve nightmares she had about the facility’s imminent opening.
Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, had her first appearance in federal court in Cheyenne on Thursday morning. She was arrested Tuesday, nearly a year after the May 2022 arson of the clinic, which was preparing to open and planned to offer abortions and transgender-related services.
According to the criminal complaint filing, Green, admitted to setting the clinic on fire because she was having nightmares about what would happen there when it opened.
Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming Kelly Rankin ordered Green to remain detained at least until her preliminary and detention hearing Tuesday.
The Wellspring Health Access clinic had planned to open June 14, 2022, about two weeks prior to the arson, which delayed its opening.
Federal prosecutors have taken up the case against Green, which means she could face a harsher penalty than if she were charged in the state system.
The federal arson charge is punishable by between five and 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. Wyoming’s law also is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but there’s no minimum five-year prison penalty. State law carries a fine amount of up to $20,000.
The office of the U.S. Attorney for Wyoming noted in a Tuesday press release that the clinic is set to engage in “interstate commerce,” which it may be using as a justification for having taken over the case.
Green is being held at the Platte County Detention Center in Wheatland.
Casper Police Department officers went to Wellspring Health Access in the early morning hours of May 25, 2022, and found smoke streaming from the building. The Casper Fire Department extinguished the fire.
Surveillance videos from the scene show a brown-haired woman with a gas can wearing a dark hoodie and mask. Federal prosecutors say the woman broke a window and poured gasoline in the facility.
Little was determined about the suspect’s identity based on the surveillance video, but the suspect was described as between 5 feet, 5 inches and 5 feet, 8 inches tall and wore Nike shoes with a blue swoosh on them. Also, the suspect drove away in a silver or gold 2003-2008 Toyota Corolla.
Reward Pays Off
With a reward for information leading to the suspect’s capture set at $5,000, nearly a year passed with no arrests. That changed recently when the reward was tripled.
Another $10,000 was added to the reward offering March 3 “with the assistance of an anonymous donor,” says a Wednesday Casper Police Department press release.
“Shortly after that, several tipsters identified a potential suspect, which led to the filing of charges after additional investigation,” the statement says.
According to the charging complaint, there were many leads submitted connecting Green to the crime after the reward was increased.
Casper Police Detective Andrew Lincowski performed a driver’s license search on Green and determined that she stands 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds, and has blue eyes and brown hair, consistent with the suspect’s description.
Green also owns a beige 2007 Toyota Corolla.
Lincowski then turned to Green’s social media accounts, finding many similarities on a deeper physical level.
“The similarities are readily apparent, including: the wide widow’s peak with deep hair recession, and the hair can be seen to be combed or lie in the same direction; the eyes are relatively wide-set,” the complaint reads.
Lincowski also analyzed images of the suspect’s shoes, finding a strong similarity between the Nikes worn during the arson and a photo a tipster provided of Green riding a bicycle.
Admissions To Investigators
On Tuesday, investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Casper Police Department and FBI executed a search warrant on Green’s home.
According to the complaint, Green admitted to being the suspect involved in the arson.
Green, who opposes abortion, told investigators she had heard about the clinic opening and that she suffered nightmares in the lead-up to the incident, which she attributes to anxiety about the opening of the abortion clinic. Burning the building down was her solution.
Green was living in Laramie at the time of the crime.
She told investigators she went to the Walmart there and bought two gas cans and aluminum pans she used in the arson. Green then drove directly to the Wellspring clinic in Casper, about two and a half hours away.
When she arrived, Green said she put the gas cans and pans into a trash bag and threw a rock twice at a glass door, causing it to break. She then entered the building and started pouring gas throughout the facility.
Green said she intended to light the gas in every room she poured it into, but the fire started spreading too quickly and she decided to exit the building. She left one gas can at the scene.
Green’s account aligns with the surveillance video, the complaint says.
She said she then returned to her Corolla and drove through the night directly back to Laramie, arriving around dawn. It was there she threw away the pants she was wearing, but kept the sweatshirt and pink shirt she had on that night. Green said she washed them multiple times to get the gasoline smell out.
At some point later, she also removed the black trim from her Corolla, but didn’t say whether this was done to hide her identity in relation to the arson.
In the search of her home, investigators found shoes and a pink shirt matching the items the suspect wore in the surveillance video.
First Day In Court
Green, wearing glasses below long, brown braided hair, appeared in federal court Thursday in a gray-and-white striped prison shirt. She said little during the hearing, but appeared calm and composed.
No reference was made to Green’s admissions to investigators during the hearing.
Green’s Instagram account reveals no signs of a woman who planned an arson or other illegal activities. Most of her posts are rather benign in nature, showcasing scenes with family and friends.
She made a post in December boasting about her appearance in a Casper College commercial.
“Not exactly world-class acting, but now I can say that I’ve been in a commercial,” she said.
The preliminary and detention hearing will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, where Rankin will consider Green’s bond and custody status.