NEW CUMBERLAND - A Weirton woman accused of setting fire to her daughter's trailer on June 4 has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree arson.
Brenda Sue Boyer, 47, entered the plea Friday before Hancock County Magistrate Mike White, who scheduled a preliminary hearing for 11 a.m. June 21. The preliminary hearing will determine whether there is probable cause to show that Boyer committed the crime and whether the case should be bound over to Hancock County Circuit Court, Weirton attorney David Mascio said.
Mascio asked White to reduce his client's bond and to consider her for pre-trial release. Bond has been set at $200,000, and Boyer is being held at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville.
Boyer was charged with arson in connection with a June 4 fire that destroyed her daughter Nicole's trailer at 13 Culley Court, off North Fork Road near Weirton, and seriously damaged a second trailer.
Police believe Boyer set the fire as an act of retaliation against her daughter for asking her to move out, according to a criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court. Described as homeless, Boyer had been staying with Nicole at her trailer, the complaint said.
On the morning of the fire, Nicole Boyer left to attend a college class, leaving her mother and a dog at home, the complaint said. Nicole Boyer later received a text from her mother asking her to pick up the dog. When Nicole returned, the mother and daughter had a confrontation, and Brenda Boyer allegedly said, "If you kick me out, I'm burning your house down," according to the complaint.
Nicole Boyer left with the dog, and, within an hour, the Hancock County 911 Dispatch Center received a call reporting a trailer fire. Fire departments from Weirton, Oakland District and New Cumberland responded. Boyer's trailer was considered a total loss.
After the fire was reported, a witness reported seeing Brenda Boyer walking near the intersection of Kings Creek and North Fork roads, about half a mile from the trailer, the complaint said. Hancock County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Waide picked her up and brought her back to the trailer for questioning.
Boyer walked away again and later was found at Carmen's Fireside Lounge in Weirton, the complaint said.
If convicted, Boyer could be sentenced to two to 20 years in prison.
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