CEDAR CITY – A Cedar City woman allegedly set fire to her basement apartment over the weekend after snorting bath salts, authorities said.
Ericka Nichols Gillette was arrested Saturday morning for aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, and assault by a prisoner, a third-degree felony.
According to the probable cause statement filed in 5th District Court, Cedar City Police were called to the Mountain View Real Estate building on reports that someone had heard the sound of glass breaking.
When officers arrived on scene they discovered a window was broken out and could smell smoke coming from the front door area of the building. At that time, someone began throwing items out the window, court documents stated.
The 47-year-old suspect, who was unidentified at the time, allegedly ignored multiple commands from police to stop and exit the building.
Officer Aaron Jensen Condie stated in his report he “observed the suspect break several windows using a skull longhorn mount.”
“The suspect then exited the building with a large painting in her hands. I observed the suspect rip electrical cords off of the back of the building, then she came to the locked gate near the officers and began to hit the gate,” Condie stated.
The suspect then began to walk away from police. After issuing several commands for Gillette to stop, Condie said he opted to deploy his Taser to take her into custody.
Before officers entered the building where they could see and smell smoke coming from the basement apartment, they asked Gillette what was on fire. “Everything,” she said, according to the statement. Gillette allegedly told police she had used gas to start the fire.
It was then police learned the suspect had been living in the basement apartment.
Gillette was taken to Cedar City Hospital for medical treatment and while there, the police report stated she “bit the doctor,” who was caring for her.
Condie requested the judge hold Gillette in jail due to the danger he believed she represented to the community.
According to Condie’s statement, Gillette admitted to EMTs in his presence she had taken opiates, bath salts, marijuana and alcohol. Gillette allegedly kept yelling nonsense phrases and fighting officers after being taken into custody.
“(Gillette) did not appear to be in a normal state of mind,” the police report stated.
Gillette was booked into the Iron County Correctional Facility on $25,000 bail.
She appeared before 5th District Judge Keith Barnes Wednesday for an initial appearance. Barnes turned the case over to Judge Matthew L. Bell
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 23.
Editor’s note: The original story incorrectly stated the suspect had allegedly eaten bath salts. This information has since been changed.
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