Despite allegedly causing $290,000 in damage to a planned abortion and women’s health clinic in Casper last summer, a federal judge ruled a 22-year-old Casper woman can be free on bond pending prosecution on suspicion of federal arson.
U.S. Magistrate Stephanie Hambrick made the ruling during a preliminary hearing for Lorna Green on Tuesday afternoon in Cheyenne.
Green is accused of breaking into the facility on May 25, 2022, and setting it on fire with gasoline she lugged inside a red fuel container.
Hambrick released Green from custody at the Platte County Detention Center, where she was being held on a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond. Under her bond conditions, Green must live with her parents while awaiting a federal grand jury in her case. She also is required to keep attending school and working her delivery job at DoorDash.
An unsecured appearance bond is the equivalent of being released from custody without bail. The $10,000 amount only comes into play if Green fails to meet her bond requirements. Conversely, the federal arson charge Green is facing is punishable by five to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for arson of a facility engaged in interstate commerce.
The arson delayed the planned opening of the Wellspring Health Access facility and significant damage to the building. The clinic had planned to open about two weeks after the fire to offer abortion and transgender-related treatments.
Laura Rankin, a spokesperson for Wellspring, said her organization has no comment on Green’s release on bond. Rankin said the facility is planning to open in a few weeks, but no official opening date has been set.
“Over the last 10 months, our team has worked tirelessly to renovate the facility after the arson attack, all while the perpetrator remained at large, so that we can finally open our doors to the patients who need us,” the facility posted last week. “Now that a suspect has been arrested, we can continue our singular focus on providing quality reproductive health care to the Casper community in a safe, compassionate environment.”
It took investigators around 10 months before breaking a significant lead in the case, spurred when they increased the reward for tips leading to the suspect’s arrest from $5,000 to $15,000.
Green was arrested March 21.
According to the criminal complaint, Green admitted to investigators 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.
“I believe the weight of the evidence is pretty strong,” Hambrick said.
Second Day In Court
Tuesday’s hearing was Green’s second in court in less than a week. She waived her right to a preliminary hearing, so the only matter discussed Tuesday was her bond.
Both prosecutors and Green’s attorney Ryan Semerad mostly agreed to the defendant’s bond terms entering the hearing.
Under the terms, Green must continue working at DoorDash, where she clocks about 15 hours a week, and live with her parents, who have agreed to house her.
She also must continue attending college in Casper, where she is enrolled in three classes.
“I see no reason why their household is not an appropriate place to stay while pending trial,” Hambrick said.
There was a small discussion about whether her parents would be allowed to keep firearms in their home while she stays with them, which prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Christyne M. Martens opposed.
Hambrick decided they will not be able to store firearms and other ammunition in the home while Green is there.
Green must also seek permission from her probation officer to leave the state for any reason.
Wearing glasses, a gray and white prison shirt, a brown-haired Green kept a calm demeanor and spoke little during the hearing.
She spoke up once when inquiring how she could continue working her job at DoorDash without the use of her cellphone, which has an application associated with the business on it.
A review of Green’s Instagram account reveals no signs of a potential arsonist in the making or any strong stances about abortion.
Most of her posts are rather benign in nature – talking about a lost hedgehog and a bike race she participated in a few weeks after the clinic arson.
A suspect’s bond is typically determined based on criminal history and flight risk, which the judge acknowledged.
“There is some risk that you are a danger to the community,” Hambrick said.
But the judge added she doesn’t consider it likely Green will skip court, citing her ties to the Casper community.
State Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, posted on Twitter in response to Green’s arrest last week.
“I wish we were able to pursue Justice without throwing people in a cell,” Provenza said. “I’d rather she work to serve the people impacted and be forced to genuinely see them as people through restorative means — an opportunity for growth. Instead, she goes to jail hateful and comes out hateful.”
Green was living in Laramie at the time of the crime.
She told investigators she went to the Walmart there and bought the two gas cans and aluminum pans she allegedly 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.