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Judge changes his mind: Woman who started fire in jail cell will stay locked up

A Middletown woman pleaded no contest to a lesser degree arson charge Friday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court.

Last week, Georgia Osborne, 35, was charged with arson, a fourth-degree felony, after she started a fire in her jail cell around 7 a.m. May 17. She used a lighter to catch a blanket on fire while she sat on the concrete floor, according to the police report. She sneaked the lighter into the jail, the report said.

FIRST REPORT: Woman started fire in jail cell when wait for hygiene products took too long

Osborne, represented by attorney James Calhoun, pleaded no contest to arson and criminal trespass and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for eight days served.

Middletown Municipal Court Judge James Sherron initially said he would release Osborne on probation if she met with representatives from Access Counseling, provide a negative drug screen when she returns to court in two weeks, and not be charged with additional crimes.

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But after meeting with Calhoun, the city prosecutor and a representative from Access Counseling, Sherron changed his mind. The judge revoked Osborne’s probation and sent her back to jail.

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After reviewing Osborne’s criminal history on his computer, Sherron noted that in 17 years, she had 53 cases in Middletown court.

“Is that something to be proud of?” Sherron asked her.

“It’s embarrassing,” Osborne said, burying her face in her right hand.

Osborne said she has a 4-month-old son and she had hoped to live with her mother, who was at the court hearing.

Outside the courtroom, Osborne’s mother said she was “pleased” Sherron decided to keep her daughter in jail.

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