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Duo refuses plea deals for suspected Carolina home arson

March 26, 2019, Fletcher, NC — Two local women want their names cleared after they were accused of intentionally setting their Fletcher home on fire in Sept. 2016.

Sherry Lance and her elderly mother Jonnie Turner face felony arson charges. Lance was also charged with insurance fraud.

According to Lance and Turner, they have been offered five plea deals since the fire destroyed their house.

But both said they refused to go down for something they did not do.

"An officer called, and we were on our way home, and said we need to get home,” Lance said. "As embarrassing as it is, it's the truth, we were dumpster-diving."

That was their alibi for the night of the fire.

"We get home and we see the fire trucks, we see WLOS, and the officer walked up to the car, and we saw what was going on," Lance said.

Lance said she never received a payout from her renters insurance policy, and she and her mother were later arrested.

"I asked 'Why not a lie detector test?' They said it's not admissible in court. OK. Where are the camera surveillance to prove where we were? Uh, they're gone after 30 days," Lance said.

"But, they did say arson's off the table, arson is off the table,” Lance said. “'We'll let your mama go' [they said], we'll drop all of her charges, if you'll just plea.'"

According to Lance, the plea would include fines, probation, and about a year of jail time—all while her mother is terminally ill.

"The cardiologist said, 'Any day,'" Lance said.

Lance herself had a brain tumor.

"I just want all this to be over with, so that we can continue to live, and I can focus more on this tumor and at least have a fighting chance," Lance said.

Lance wanted the chance to take that fight to court—if the case was not thrown out.

"To my grave I'll fight this, because I'm that strongly adamant about it, you know? Right is right and wrong is wrong, and this is wrong," Lance said.

Lance's attorney could not speak with News 13.

News 13 also reached out to Henderson County's district attorney. He was not allowed to talk about a pending case.

Source: WLOS

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