DABC Note: It appears that we can no longer list Briana Waters as an non-cooperating defendant, as she is now poised to snitch on an alleged accomplice to the UW arson.
TACOMA, Wash. — A violin teacher from California admitted she helped set the fire that destroyed the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture.
Briana Waters faced a retrial for the 2001 fire. But on Tuesday she told a federal judge she played a role in the arson at the University of Washington. In May of 2001 members of the Earth Liberation Front set fire to the UW’s Center for Urban Horticulture, causing $6 million in damage. Investigators quickly determined it was no accident.
Originally, Waters said she was innocent and testified to that in her trial, but on Tuesday the 35-year-old mother and musician admitted she was a lookout for the five-person crew.
Her original conviction was thrown out but rather than face trial again — and risk a longer sentence — she accepted a plea deal.
“We’re particularly pleased Ms. Waters, who previously claimed she was innocent… accepted guilt for her crimes in admitting what she did wrong and will now face justice for those crimes,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Friedman.
She’ll likely get a four-year sentence and have to testify against the alleged ringleader of the arson crew, a former boyfriend. He’s in a Chinese jail on a drug conviction but he could be back in the U.S. within a year.
Waters is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 23. She is free on bond until then.