CHEYENNE — A Casper woman pleaded guilty to a charge of arson for setting fire to a Casper abortion clinic last year during a Thursday plea hearing held in U.S. District Court.
Lorna Green, 22, pleaded guilty to using gasoline to set fire to the Wellspring Health Access building in Casper in May 2022.
Green said little during the hearing, wearing a long aquamarine-colored dress and black-rimmed circular glasses beneath her long, light brown hair.
She offered a short and succinct summary of the crime she committed and a brief apology after pleading guilty to one count of felony arson, which consists of maliciously damaging and destroying property.
“While I deeply regret my actions, I accept full responsibility for what I have done,” she said.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson pressed her slightly on this point.
“You knew what you were doing was wrong while you were doing it?” he questioned.
Green said she realized she was wrong “right after” she had committed the arson.
Johnson then asked if she intended to destroy the building, to which she answered she did.
As part of her plea deal with prosecutors, Green was taken immediately into custody. The charge Green has pleaded guilty to carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Green also agreed to not argue for any variables on her sentencing terms. It won’t be known the exact punishment Green will receive until her sentencing hearing Oct. 6.
Although Johnson has the right to issue a punishment that is different from the sentencing range of federal arson under federal law, judges rarely take this type of action.
Why Did She Do It?
According to the criminal complaint filing, Green, who opposes abortion, admitted to setting the clinic on fire because she was having nightmares about what would happen there when it opened. Her actions caused $290,000 worth of damage to the facility.
The Wellspring Health Access clinic had planned to open about two weeks prior to the arson, which delayed its opening by almost a year. It opened in April.
“While we are glad that this perpetrator has been brought to justice, we at Wellspring Health Access know all too well that the potential for anti-abortion violence has not gone away,” said Julie Burkhart, president of Wellspring Health Access, in a statement after Green pleaded guilty.
“That risk underwrites our work every day, and yet our staff continue to show up because our patients deserve access to abortion care and the full spectrum of reproductive health care,” Burkhart said. “We will not be deterred from our mission.”
Although the total monetary amount was not revealed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Sprecher said there will be a restitution consideration in Green’s final sentencing.
It was unknown who had committed the arson for many months afterward despite authorities offering up a $5,000 reward.
An anonymous donor added $10,000 to the reward March 3, which led to several tipsters identifying a suspect and Green’s arrest, according to a March statement by the Casper Police Department.
“We are grateful to the Casper Police Department, the ATF and the FBI for their diligent work in bringing the perpetrator of this heinous act of anti-abortion terrorism to justice,” Burkhart said.
Green was charged in federal court rather than state because it was determined that Wellspring is involved in interstate commerce since it serves clients from outside the state. If Green had received a state charge, she would likely receive a lesser punishment.
After her preliminary hearing March 28, Green was released from custody with a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond. She had been out of custody since that hearing. She was taken straight to jail after Thursday’s hearing.
Green also said she is being treated for mental illness but istaking no prescription medicine for it.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.