Sara Barnes stood before a judge today, accused of causing a fire which burned “The Senator” tree in Big Tree Park on January 16, 2012.
Barnes entered a plea on Wednesday to the court during a routine docket sounding, and was subsequently sentenced.
Assistant State Attorney Dave Whateley said that Judge John Galluzzo sentenced Barnes to 30 months in the Department of Corrections, but suspended the sentence provided she successfully complete five years of probation.
The judge adjudicated Barnes guilty of the crime of unlawful burning of lands, a third-degree felony, possession of methamphetamine, also a third-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Whateley said Barnes did not score prison based on sentencing guidelines, but yet Judge Galluzzo structured a sentence which could result in her going to prison if she does not successfully complete the probation.
Additionally, the judge sentenced her to 250 hours of alternative community service which Whateley said indicates community service that involves manual labor.
Judge Galluzzo also ordered her to pay restitution to the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners of approximately $12,700 for the removal of the burned tree and a cost of investigation of $1,281 to the Department of Agriculture.
He also ordered that a substance abuse evaluation be conducted as part of her probation and she complies with all recommendations of the Department of Corrections based upon that evaluation.