Arlinda Latifi, a senior at Holt High School in Lansing Michigan pled guilty today to second-degree arson, which is a crime punishable up to 20 years in prison. Latifi, who is originally from Albania, told the judge that the only reason she set fire to her home during a time her parents were asleep was to avoid an arranged marriage.
As part of the agreement for sentencing, 17-year-old Latifi could face up to three years of probation but if at any time it is violated, the remaining time would likely be spent in prison. Currently, Latifi is out on bond, awaiting formal sentencing in the case on November 24, 2012.
The arson incident occurred on May 30 2014 in the early morning hours at the home shared with her parents. As stated by Latifi, she felt completely overwhelmed at the thought of becoming engaged to an Albania man her parents chose. While they were happy, she was miserable and had no interest in getting engaged, which she ultimately did.
Gasoline was first poured in her bedroom, then down the hallway and into a bathroom. Latifi then used a match to light the accelerant and although her parents were asleep in the home, she did not think they were in any danger. The judge reprimanded her, stating that fires quickly burn out of control and that in addition to damage to her parent’s home, other homes in the neighborhood could have become engulfed.
Her attorney, Chris Bergstrom, said damage by the fire was restricted to the carpet, floors, and walls. Her parents were in fact not harmed and the now un-engaged Latifi says their relationship is on the mend. The judge also granted a request to keep her case private under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, meaning once she completes her sentence without any problems, she will not have a criminal record.