AUBURN, Maine — A Wilton woman who conspired with two other people to burn down a Livermore Falls convenience store for the insurance money will be allowed to withdraw an earlier felony plea two years from now and, instead, plead guilty to a misdemeanor.
Nicole Hennessy, 31, appeared Wednesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court. She had been free on her own recognizance following her plea on Feb. 4 to aggravated criminal mischief, a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
On Feb. 26, 2015, Hennessy will be allowed to withdraw that plea and plead guilty to criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail. She also will be ordered to pay a $250 fine.
In the meantime, Hennessy must stay out of legal trouble, undergo substance abuse evaluation and counseling, and not have or use alcohol or illegal drugs, and be subject to random search and testing, a judge said.
If Hennessy fails to comply with those conditions, a judge could sentence her on the felony to two years in prison with all but 90 days suspended, plus two years of probation.
“Very good luck to you,” Justice MaryGay Kennedy said.
Hennessy acted as lookout on July 26, 2011, the night Miguel Cedeno, 21, of Mexico tried to burn down the JP Corner Store on Pleasant Street in Livermore Falls by pouring gasoline into an air-conditioning duct.
Cedeno implicated Hennessy in the arson plot in which he agreed to set fire to the store for $4,000 of the anticipated insurance money promised him by the owner of the store, Erica Poland-Rolfe, 30, of Livermore Falls.
In December, Cedeno pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced to four years in prison and four years of probation.
Poland-Rolfe pleaded guilty earlier this month to felony aggravated criminal mischief and was sentenced to two years in prison with all but 90 days suspended, plus two years of probation.
Prosecutors said Hennessy admitted to police that the gasoline used to set the fire came from her garage and that she had served as lookout as Cedeno poured the fuel into the store’s air-conditioning duct and lit it.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames that caused roughly $200 in damage to a wall, prosecutors said.
Cedeno never collected any money for his efforts, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors dropped an arson charge against Hennessy and two arson charges against Poland-Rofle in exchange for their pleas.
Poland-Rolfe 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.