Krystal Gonzalez Pleads Guilty to D’Iberville Arson
It sent shockwaves throughout a Harrison County courtroom today. The woman accused in a multi-million dollar first-degree arson case changes her plea from not guilty to guilty. Krystal Gonzalez is accused of setting fire to an apartment building in D’Iberville. Today marked day two of the trial. News 25’s Kristen Durand has the details from inside the courtroom.
On March 4th, 2014, Lawankia Farley was in her first floor apartment with her three-year-old son at the Arbor View in D’Iberville when she heard a banging on her door to get out. The building was on fire. She was one of dozens who lost everything. Today, she testified in a Harrison County courtroom to what she recalls from that night. She was surprised when Krystal Gonzalez changed her plea from not guilty to guilty after several witnesses took the stand. “I was just really excited. I was happy but I didn’t want to show too many emotions because, you know, of course on one side of the courtroom, we’re happy, we’re relieved and on the other side of the courtroom, obviously they were sad and upset.”
A teary-eyed Gonzalez admitted to intentionally setting fire to a shirt of her then live-in boyfriend after a day of partying in Biloxi at a Mardi Gras parade. Gonzalez’s attorney, Michael Crosby, said, “She’s getting to hear people she lived next to and people she didn’t know and you hear exactly what happened and it begins to take on a whole different light.”
Gonzalez, who was 25-years-old at the time of the fire, could spend the next five to 20 years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine. Crosby says in all his years as an attorney he hasn’t seen a case quite like this one. “She has absolutely no criminal history whatsoever and it’s just one thing that happened on one day under the most unusual of circumstances.”
Her sentencing is set for next Thursday at 1:30. As for Lawankia Farley, who lost all she had two years ago, she says she’s since found forgiveness. “I forgave her back when it happened because I mean, that is the Christian thing to do, to forgive. I mean, I forgive her. I just wanted her to own up to it and take responsibility for her actions.”
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