LAKELAND - A Glendon woman has been convicted of four counts of four counts of mischief against property in connection to multiple arsons in the Bonnyville and Lac La Biche areas.
Last June, the RCMP Forestry Crimes Unit charged Audrey Elaine Dunham of Glendon with 32 counts of arson in connection to multiple wildfires in the Bonnyville and Lac La Biche areas following an in-depth investigation into a series of suspicious wildfires across the Lakeland.
During a sentencing trial held at the Bonnyville Provincial Court on Dec. 9, 2021, 28 counts of arson causing damage to property was withdrawn by the Crown prosecutor.
“After carefully assessing the file and all the available evidence, the Crown prosecutor made the decision to accept guilty pleas to four counts of mischief against property (Criminal Code s.430(4)),” according to a statement provided by the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service to Lakeland This Week.
“Further, Ms. Dunham specifically admitted she had set all 32 fires, and she was sentenced for everything that she admitted to,” the statement continued.
The four mischief offences that Dunham was convicted of were in connection to offences that occurred on April 24, April 25, May 2, and May 27 of 2021 in or near Bonnyville.
On April 24, Bonnyville RCMP, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA) responded to multiple wildfires northwest of Bonnyville and east of Lac La Biche, within the Forest Protection Area.
The RCMP Forestry Crimes Unit, in collaboration with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, determined the cause of the fires had been arson and identified a suspect.
Roughly one month later, on May 27, local authorities responded to a report of seven wildfires near Hwy. 55 and Hwy. 881 in the MD of Bonnyville.
An investigation led authorities to Dunham who was 54 years old at the time.
At the time of her arrest, four wildfires were located nearby with a total of 19 wildfires having been ignited over the course of a few hours.
Dunham was sentenced to a 9-month jail sentence. However, she was permitted to serve her sentence in the community in accordance with a conditional sentence order, states Alberta Crown Prosecution Service.
Dunham was also sentenced to an additional 18-month probation sentence.
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