NewsCrime Watch


Woman admits to charges for damage to downtown Billings buildings

Church, corrections facility damaged by fire
Posted at 11:19 AM, Jun 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-01 13:28:13-04

BILLINGS - A woman charged for setting fires to a church and corrections facility in downtown Billings last year admitted to amended charges Thursday in Yellowstone County District Court.

Jodi Laurette Moore, who also uses the last name Loftus, appeared before Judge Colette Davies and pleaded guilty to felony charges of criminal endangerment and criminal mischief resulting in pecuniary loss of more than $1,500.

Moore was initially charged with two counts of felony arson and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief after she was arrested last Sept. 20.

Moore was arrested after Billings firefighters responded to two fires an hour apart. The first fire was reported 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.

Fire damage to the main door at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

About an hour later, shortly after 6 a.m., fire crews were alerted by an alarm at the Alpha House Pre-Release Center at 104 N. 31st St., about two blocks away from the church. 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.

In court Thursday, Moore admitted that the fires set at the pre-release center placed those at the facility at risk, and damage caused to the church by the fires and rocks thrown at the building caused more than $1,500 in damage.

A sentencing hearing was set for July 13.

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