WORTHINGTON — Amy Erwin, 36, of Worthington pleaded guilty Monday in Nobles County District Court to arson in a case involving a residence fire in the early morning hours of Dec. 15, 2018.
Erwin had allegedly set fire to the Dover Street home of Lori and Mark Kamm, destroying the residence. The plea deal offered to Erwin downgraded her arson charge from first-degree to second-degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. It also dismissed additional charges of second-degree burglary and threats of violence-intent to terrorize.
Along with the guilty plea, Erwin filed a Norgaard addendum, which, as explained by Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore, declares that Erwin does not remember the incident but believes that there is enough evidence to convict her of the crime.
Erwin had alleged that she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the fire, so Moore questioned the grounds for her Norgaard addendum. The only two reasons why someone wouldn't remember the events, he said, are intoxication or amnesia.
After conferring with her attorney, Erwin admitted, "I was drinking."
Moore explained that a Norgaard addendum means "you are just as guilty as you would be if you remembered" the crime. He also noted that a Norgaard plea has no bearing on the eventual sentence Erwin will receive.
Erwin told the court that she was admitted as a patient in a mental hospital around the time of the fire. She has been under psychiatric supervision since then and reported that she is presently feeling mentally healthy.
As a condition of Erwin's initial release from jail, she was prohibited from contact with her minor children. Since she has received the appropriate mental health care, the court amended her release conditions to allow her to once again have contact.
Moore approved Erwin's plea and ordered a pre-sentencing investigation, which will include a sentencing guidelines worksheet, a victim impact statement, restitution information and an assessment for chemical dependency treatment. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for next month.