Rachel Lewin sentencing: Arson after String Cheese Incident show inspired by fire twirling

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At that point, prosecutors say Piper and Lewin drove to a convenience store, where they bought some lighter fluid. Then they returned to the residence and set it on fire, using their purchase as an accelerant.

When West Metro Fire responded to the scene, shortly before 5 a.m., the duplex was engulfed in flames, with the blaze having apparently started on the front porch. Firefighters eventually managed to knock it down -- they described the damage as "moderate," while police on the scene called it "extensive" -- and determined that it was deliberately set.

For our original post, Davis said there were "four or five people in the home" and others nearby. Now, however, the DA's office states that nine people were sleeping inside. All of them managed to escape with their lives, but one person suffered minor injuries.

Although Lewin was caught almost immediately, Piper managed to scamper away. But after police shared his photo and noted that he was wanted for first-degree arson and nine counts of attempted murder, he didn't remain free for long.

Cut to April 4, when Piper pleaded guilty to one count of attempted first-degree murder, a charge that named all nine people who'd been in the duplex, plus first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. Later that month, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

The next month, Lewin entered a guilty plea to the same charges, and earlier this week, she earned a sentence exactly half as long as Piper's: eleven years.

Here are the full-size booking photos for Piper and Lewin.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "Terry Ballowe found guilty of schmucky plan to torch his bed & breakfast."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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