NewsCrime Watch


$100K bond set for woman charged with downtown Billings arson fires

Posted at 10:28 AM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 12:45:12-04

BILLINGS - Bond was set at $100,000 Thursday for a woman accused of setting fire to a downtown Billings church and a state correctional facility.

Jodi Laurette Moore, who is also known by the last name Loftus, pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony arson and a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief during an arraignment hearing in Yellowstone County District Court. Moore appeared in court by video from the county jail.

A judge set the bond after a prosecutor described the woman's alleged crimes as "alarming, random, and extremely dangerous." A defense attorney asked for a lower bond amount after describing Moore as a transient with ties to Billings and Wyoming who has several children and possible mental health issues.

Moore was arrested early Tuesday after Billings firefighters responded to two fire alarms an hour apart. The first alarm sounded at 5 a.m. at St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 119 N. 33rd St.

The front door of the church had been set on fire, and a church parishioner later said they found several other spots where small fires had been set on church grounds. The fires caused estimated damages of $10,000 to church property.

The main door at St. Luke's Episcopal Church was damaged early Tuesday by an arson fire. A woman from Wyoming was arrested.

About an hour later, shortly after 6 a.m., fire crews were alerted by an alarm at the Alpha House Pre-Release Center about two blocks away from the church at 104 N. 31st St. Fire crews found several spots on the building wall with minor smoke damage and a couple of rags in a waste basket were charred.

Officials estimated the damages at $200, but noted that there were 19 occupants of the correctional facility dormitory asleep inside the building at the time of the fires.

Moore was arrested a short time later in the vicinity of the fires.

RELATED: Arson fires reported at downtown Billings church, group living center