June 18, 2018
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Two women plead guilty in Livermore Falls store fire

By Chris Williams, Sun Journal

AUBURN, Maine — Two women involved in an attempt to burn down a Livermore Falls convenience store for the insurance money pleaded guilty Monday to charges from that incident.

Erica Poland-Rolfe, 30, of Livermore Falls pleaded guilty to a charge of felony aggravated criminal mischief.

She was sentenced in a plea agreement to two years in prison with all but 90 days suspended. She also agreed to two years of probation. She is scheduled to begin serving her sentence in a week.

Poland-Rolfe owned The JP Corner Store on Pleasant Street in Livermore Falls, off Route 4. She had taken out an insurance policy on the building for roughly $155,000 and on the personal property in the store for $72,000.

Prosecutors said they would have presented witnesses at her trial who would testify that she offered to pay them to burn down her store. Police said she intended to use the insurance money to start a day care business.

Nicole Hennessy, 31, of Wilton also pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of aggravated criminal mischief. The Class C felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

She is scheduled to be sentenced in March. Unlike in the case of Poland-Rolfe, Hennessy’s plea is open, meaning a judge won’t be bound by a negotiated cap on the amount of time Hennessy will spend behind bars.

Assistant District Attorney James Andrews told an Androscoggin County Superior Court judge Monday that Hennessy assisted Miguel Cedeno, 21, of Mexico in seeking to set fire to the store on July 26, 2011.

Andrews said Hennessy was initially implicated in the arson plot by Cedeno, who admitted to authorities he had tried to burn down the store for $4,000 of the anticipated insurance money Poland-Rolfe had promised him.

Cedeno told authorities he and Hennessy went to the store with a can of gasoline and poured it down an air-conditioning duct and lit it. The fire was confined to that wall and caused damage totaling about $200. Firefighters extinguished the blaze quickly at about 2:30 a.m.

Cedeno said Hennessy had provided the gasoline that was used as an accelerant and that she had served as lookout.

Hennessy later agreed to a polygraph examination by a Lewiston police officer. Following that exam, Hennessy admitted to police that the gasoline used to set the fire came from her garage and that she had acted as Cedeno’s lookout, Andrews said.

Cedeno said he never collected any money for his efforts.

Monday’s pleas conclude the case, prosecutors said.

Cedeno had pleaded guilty in Androscoggin County Superior Court in December to Class A felony arson, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He was sentenced to four years in prison plus four years of probation.

Prosecutors dropped two arson counts against Poland-Rolfe in exchange for the plea. They also dropped a single count of arson against Hennessy.

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