A college attendee who also serves as a resident assistant has recently been linked to several fires that were lit on the campus.
Since the end of November, the McIntire dormitory building, which is home for 120 students on the Wheaton College campus, has experienced six small fires for which the origin was unknown.
Between 3:30 and 4:00 am on Thursday, another fire was reported inside the McIntire halls, but it was caught on the security cameras that the school had recently put in place for student safety.
The footage revealed what appeared to be a female student throwing what has been determined to be a towel into a water fountain and igniting it before knocking on doors of the other residents to encourage them to leave the building.
The woman in the video was believed to be 22-year-old Janelys Pimentel who is a RA inside of the McIntire dorm.
When the authorities spoke with Pimentel she reportedly said she didn’t know anything about the blazes, but after they told her about the captured footage she allegedly gave them a statement saying, “I did it.” She is additionally reported as saying that she wasn’t attempting to incinerate the dormitory, she was “just being stupid,” and she disclosed that she had three glasses of wine before midnight, which she may have regarded as a possible factor in the cause of the occurrence.
No one has been reported as sustaining injuries from any of the incidents, and Pimentel, who has never been in trouble with the law before, was taken into custody, booked, and arraigned for two counts of arson, four counts of wantonly injuring real and personal property, and six counts of vandalism.
Pimentel was also suspended from Wheaton College because of the allegations.
It was decided that Pimentel should remain in jail until she has a dangerousness hearing which has been scheduled to take place on Valentine’s Day. In this hearing, a prosecutor is given the ability to ask a judge that the defendant is kept in jail with no bail if the crime or crimes that initiated the charges hold a high level of danger to society. A judge may also consider implementing a tracking device, such as an ankle monitor, in order to allow the suspect some freedom while still keeping an eye on their whereabouts.
In the meantime, Pimentel is going to have psychological testing that so that it can be determined whether her mental health is in a state where it would prevent her from taking part in a jury trial, as her lawyer believes she may be suffering from an undiagnosed issue.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.