Arsonist sentenced for City Hall fire in Mill City

2013-03-30T11:09:00Z 2013-03-30T11:23:56Z Arsonist sentenced for City Hall fire in Mill CityBy Kyle Odegard, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald

Joy Marie Cronin was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday for the fire that burned down Mill City’s City Hall in September 2010.

“She betrayed an entire community,” said Deputy District Attorney Ani Yardumian during the sentencing hearing in Linn County Circuit Court.

On March 1, after a five-day trial, a jury found the former Mill City finance clerk guilty of three counts of first-degree arson.

During the trial, the prosecution alleged that Cronin’s motive was to cover up the theft of more than $20,000 from the city.  

Mill City City Recorder Stacie Cook gave a victim impact statement Friday, saying that the arson created divisiveness and distrust in the community.

“We have spent 21/2 years working to regain what was lost,” she said.

“Our credibility within the community has been destroyed” by the selfish acts of Cronin, Cook added.

Cronin was ordered to pay $373,000 restitution for the blaze.

The former city worker was injured during the nighttime arson,  and received $12,300 in workers compensation.

Yardumian asked for that to be included in the restitution, but Judge Glen Baisinger said the validity of the claim wasn’t for the court to determine.

Defense attorney Paul Kuebrich asked for a lesser sentence given Cronin’s minimal criminal history.

Baisinger rebuffed the request, citing the seriousness of the crime.  

There was much debate during the hearing about Cronin’s service dog, which she has for post-traumatic stress related to the fire. The dog was with her in the courtroom Friday, and had been present for the trial.

Kuebrich asked for the sentence to be postponed until the Oregon Department of Corrections could determine how to make accommodations for the service dog, or how to alleviate the need for the canine.

“My service dog is not just a pet. It’s a part of me. ... I need her,” Cronin said, during the hearing.

She made no statements directly relating to the arson.

Yardumian said that the Oregon Department of Corrections evaluates the need for service dogs for inmates on a case-by-case basis.

She added that there are other means of treating post-traumatic stress, such as counseling and medication.

Baisinger sidestepped the service dog issue, saying he wasn’t going to tell the state agency how it should conduct its business.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Cronin was taken into custody.

Her dog wasn’t allowed with her.

But Kuebrich said a request will be made to the state prison system so Cronin can have a service canine.  

Kyle Odegard covers public safety for the D-H. He can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or

Copyright 2015 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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