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News / Nation & World

Woman in Wyoming abortion fire case returning to court

By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press
Published: March 28, 2023, 8:26am
3 Photos
This booking photo provided by the Platte County Sheriff's Office shows Lorna Roxanne Green, Wednesday, March 23, 2023 in Wheatland, Wyo.  Green is charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to an abortion clinic under construction in Casper, Wyoming, on May 25, 2022. The fire heavily damaged the clinic, preventing it from opening as scheduled.
This booking photo provided by the Platte County Sheriff's Office shows Lorna Roxanne Green, Wednesday, March 23, 2023 in Wheatland, Wyo. Green is charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to an abortion clinic under construction in Casper, Wyoming, on May 25, 2022. The fire heavily damaged the clinic, preventing it from opening as scheduled. (Platte County Sheriff's Office via AP) Photo Gallery

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — She posted on social media about competing in a bike race, losing her pet hedgehog and visiting a butterfly garden but gave no sign of the anti-abortion views investigators say drove her to set fire to a Wyoming abortion clinic.

On Tuesday, Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, is scheduled for a preliminary and detention hearing in Cheyenne before U.S. Magistrate Stephanie Hambrick, who will decide whether Green will head to trial and, if so, stay in jail or go free on bond. Charged with arson, Green, of Casper, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Police in Casper — where the Wellspring Health Access clinic has yet to open since the May 25 fire kept it from opening as planned last summer — arrested Green on March 21. Over the previous nine months, the case had grown cold.

Then, after a $10,000 anonymous donation increased the reward in the case from $5,000 to $15,000 earlier this month, several tipsters came forward, according to investigators.

Some allegedly identified Green and she told U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent Matthew Wright the clinic was giving her anxiety and nightmares so she decided to burn it, according to Wright’s statement filed in court.

Wright said Green told him about driving from Laramie, where she was living at the time, to break into the clinic with gasoline, which she poured on the floor and lit, according to the statement.

Public records and Green’s Instagram account show no sign of opposition to abortion that may have motivated the crime.

Green was a high school and community college honors student interested in science and math. On Instagram, she posted about a March 14, 2022, party celebrating the number pi — 3.14 — featuring pies and other round treats.

Four days before the fire, Green posted photos of butterflies she said she’d taken at an Ames, Iowa, garden she’d visited with her grandmother.

Then, 10 days after the fire, Green posted about competing in a 60-mile gravel-road bike race outside Sheridan, Wyoming. She finished 185th out of 247 participants, according to the race results.

In September, she posted about losing her pet hedgehog, Hedgie, in her backyard. And in December, she posted a Casper College commercial in which she was an actor. Green has attended Casper College part time for several years and the ad hasn’t been released, according to Christopher Lorenzen, a spokesperson for the community college.

In 2021, Green posted a photo of herself and a sister sitting outside on a car hood, each holding a rifle and a pistol in a pose typical of Wyoming’s many families who like to target shoot and hunt.

Her attorney, Ryan Semerad, declined to comment Monday.

The clinic was scheduled to open last summer as the only facility of its kind in the state, offering women’s health care, family planning and gender-affirming health care in addition to abortion services.

The clinic underwent repairs from the fire and was finally set to open next month, but those plans were thrown into doubt after Gov. Mark Gordon allowed a broad new abortion ban to take effect on Sunday without his signature. On Wednesday, Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens halted enforcement of the ban after a hearing in which abortion-rights supporters said it harms pregnant women and their doctors, and violates the state constitution.

Owens suspended the ban for at least two weeks. Meanwhile, the state’s first-in-the-nation ban on abortion pills remains set to take effect in July but also faces a court challenge.

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