STERLING, Va. (WUSA9) -- A woman accused of setting a fire in a Virginia shopping center in 2011 entered an Alford plea and will serve about a year in jail.
Authorities say that Sonia Grimaldi entered an Alford plea of guilty to one count of arson and on June 18 she was sentenced to 5 years in jail with 4 years and 6 months suspended. Officials say Grimaldi will also serve 4 years of supervised probation and pay $1,000 in restitution.
On July 31, 2011, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received 911 calls reporting heavy smoke at an unoccupied commercial strip shopping center at 46000 Old Ox Road. The fire was brought under control within an hour but left behind $500,000 in damages to the shopping center, including a $350,000 loss to the Super Latin Grocery and Deli, according to officials.
The Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office and the local division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) investigated the incident. Officials say a Loudoun County accelerant detection canine alerted on locations inside the Super Latin Grocery and Deli, and investigators analyzed video surveillance and other evidence that led them to Grimaldi.