Woman gets prison for Oregon motel blaze that killed 4
NEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — A woman who started a fire that killed four people at a coastal Oregon motel has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
Rebecca Sinclair, 39, of Toledo, Oregon, also pleaded guilty to reckless burning and recklessly endangering another person. Charges of second-degree manslaughter were dropped in Tuesday’s plea agreement, court records show.
Newport Police Chief Jason Malloy said Wednesday that fire investigators determined that Sinclair dropped a lit cigarette on her bed while staying at Newport’s City Center Motel on Aug. 5, 2016. He said the fire eventually spread beyond the bed and then raged into other rooms when Sinclair opened her door to seek help.
Sinclair had been staying on the bottom floor, in room 103.
Police said the bodies of 51-year-old Tammi Sue Hepner and 63-year-old Allen Hepner, both of Portland, were found upstairs in the rubble from room 221.
Crews found the bodies of Sandra Shoemaker, 60, and Danny Shoemaker, 64, both of Springfield, while searching the remnants of room 220.
The rooms had been immediately engulfed, and flames blocked the exits.
Three other people were injured in the blaze that destroyed the motel and damaged cars in the parking lot.
Prosecutors are seeking restitution for the motel owner as well as guests who suffered losses.