Las Vegas Sun

August 30, 2014

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Woman to be arraigned for attempted murder, hospital arson

Kathy Priest Ritner

Kathy Priest Ritner

A homeless woman accused of attempted murder and arson for setting a fire in March to the Valley View Hospital emergency room will be arraigned next week in Clark County District Court.

Kathy Priest Ritner, 48, will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Monday before Arraignment Hearing Master Melissa De Las Garza.

Ritner was bound over to district court on felony charges of first degree arson and attempted murder by Justice of the Peace Joe Sciscento.

She originally was arrested on suspicion of six counts of attempted murder and one count of arson.

She is being held in the Clark County Detention Center on $40,000 bail.

Ritner was taken by ambulance to the Valley Hospital emergency room on the morning of March 8 for a medical complaint. She was examined and released. Officials said she was seen playing with a cigarette lighter while in the waiting room.

She then went into the restroom of the emergency room, allegedly set fire to a plastic waste container and then left, officials said. The melting plastic created a thick black smoke that was seen coming from the restroom.

When security personnel and medical staff entered the restroom to extinguish the fire, black smoke spread into the rest of the emergency room, officials said.

Fire officials said patients being treated in the emergency room for other medical emergencies were examined for smoke inhalation after the fire and the incident caused the emergency room to close for several hours.

Later that day, Investigators determined Ritner had left the hospital and but had gone to the emergency department at University Medical Center, where she was taken into custody by fire investigators.

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