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Winston-Salem woman sentenced in arson at apartment building

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Mechell Smith

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Winston-Salem woman started an apartment fire last year because she believed two of her neighbors had taken advantage of her in a crack cocaine deal, a Forsyth County prosecutor said in court Thursday.

Mechell Lorraine Smith, 49, was initially charged with first-degree arson in connection with an apartment fire on March 27, 2014, that displaced seven people. Smith pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree arson, according to a plea arrangement. Judge Todd Burke of Forsyth Superior Court sentenced Smith to two years and four months to three years and 10 months in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Friel said that Smith told investigators that she was upset after she had gotten crack cocaine from two of her neighbors and believed she had been shortchanged.

Read more: Winston-Salem Journal