A Scio woman pleaded guilty to first-degree arson and was sentenced to 16 months in prison in Linn County Circuit Court on Wednesday morning.

On the afternoon of Oct. 15, Christy Mae Bert, 29, set fire to her mother’s house in the 36300 block of Richardson Gap Road. Her mother, Luanne Paresa, who was working a graveyard shift job, was sleeping inside.

Paresa told Judge DeAnn Novotny that Bert has a long history of drug use, and that was a major factor in the crime.

“She’s a loving, caring person when she’s normal, straight — whatever you want to call it,” Paresa added. She talked about rebuilding her family and her connection with her daughter after the incident.

Novotny designated Bert as a drug-dependent person, which may help her get into treatment and counseling while incarcerated.

“Due to the influence of drugs, this is pretty dangerous conduct,” Novotny said.

Per terms of the negotiated settlement, a charge of reckless burning was dismissed, as was a separate case for first-degree forgery.

Kyle Odegard

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