Essex County Conviction for Aggravated Arson, Among Other Charges

After facing trial in Essex County Superior Court, a woman with an extensive criminal record was recently convicted on charges for aggravated arson, burglary, and criminal mischief, which may result in an extended prison sentence.

45-year-old Irvington resident Kelly Fowler, who was originally charged with attempted murder among her other crimes, was convicted on Friday, February 7th in connection with a 2011 incident in which she set fire to her ex-girlfriend’s residence.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Fowler lit a basket of socks on fire at approximately 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2011 at the home, located on Maple Avenue in West Orange, New Jersey. Although her ex-girlfriend was in the house with another woman during the commission of the crime, neither was injured. The criminal proceedings occurred over the course of nine days, at which time the jury deliberated, ultimately finding Fowler guilty on all of the charges except for attempted murder.

Assistant Prosecutor Jason Hollingsworth, who worked on behalf of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in this case, recently announced plans to request that Fowler receive an extended sentence due to her prior record, as well as the egregiousness of the most recent charges for which she was convicted.

Fowler, whom Hollingsworth deemed “a serious threat to the community,” was previously convicted on four separate felony charges, including aggravated manslaughter. Before sentencing, the judge considers these among the aggravating and mitigating factors influencing the specific case.

According to the New Jersey Criminal Code, extended terms for sentencing are governed under statutes N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7 and N.J.S.A 2C:44-3. In this case, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3a, which pertains to persistent offenders, may be applied. This statute provides:

It is constitutional for a sentencing court to consider objective facts about a defendant’s prior convictions (including out-of-state convictions), his/her age when the offenses were committed, and the elements and degrees of the offenses, in order to determine whether the statutory requirements for an extended term are satisfied.

Fowler is currently being held at the Essex County jail pending her sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for March 28th with Superior Court Judge Sherry Hutchins-Henderson. She could be facing a term of incarceration of up to 30 years in New Jersey State Prison as a result of the conviction.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Irvington woman guilty of arson for torching ex-lover’s home by lighting basket of socks ablaze