A former Coon Rapids woman has pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court to a felony arson charge for setting her ex-husband’s East Bethel home on fire in March 2011.
Susan Jean Seaberg, 53, who now lives in Spring Lake Park, was placed on probation for seven years at a sentencing hearing Nov. 19 after pleading guilty in October to a second-degree arson charge. She was originally charged with felony first-degree arson.
Seaberg was given credit for 10 days spent in jail.
Probation conditions include counseling as recommended by the Anoka County Corrections Department, random breath and urinalysis testing, supply DNA sample, comply with recommendations of mental health professionals, take all psychotropic medications, no contact order and no use of mood-altering chemicals or alcohol.
According to court documents, successful completion of probation will result in a misdemeanor conviction.
Seaberg was arrested during a traffic stop on the 700 block of 109th Avenue N.W., Coon Rapids, the evening of March 16, 2011 after which investigators from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and Coon Rapids Police executed a search warrant at her Coon Rapids home, according to Coon Rapids Police reports.
The morning of March 16, 2011 deputies from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office responded to an arson report at a residence on the 2600 block of 185th Lane N.E., East Bethel.
There, a man told deputies that he had awakened around 7:25 a.m. to find evidence of someone trying to start his home on fire.
Deputies found and photographed an area where a fire had been set between the service door from the home to the garage and a screen door.
According to the complaint, it appeared that someone had wadded up numerous papers, along with several wooden matches, and had set the papers on fire.
A small fire had burned both the service and screen doors before going out from lack of oxygen in the confined space.
The man told deputies that the only person he could think of who would have tried to set the home on fire was his ex-wife, Seaberg.
He was told a year earlier that Seaberg had made threats to burn down the house to kill him.
A closer examination by investigators of the charred papers found at the scene showed that they appeared to be claim forms from State Farm Insurance and Abra Auto Body.
Partial policy numbers as well as other information were visible on the papers.
Investigators contacted State Farm, whose agents verified that the policy numbers, a description of the vehicle as well as the claim number and date were all related to a claim filed by Seaberg for glass damage Feb. 20, 2011 on a car registered to her.
When investigators spoke with Seaberg, she said she did not wish to speak to police.
But when she asked about the potential charges she faced and was told, Seaberg blurted out, “I lit the fire, but I wasn’t trying to kill him.”
Peter Bodley is at email@example.com