A local business owner is facing an arson charge after allegedly setting a building on fire in 2008. According to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court June 26, Jeanne Sanborn set fire to her business, The Complete Skin Care Center, on Dec. 21, 2008, causing damage to the building and personal property inside.
Court documents stat the property at 3602 Old Shell Road was maliciously damaged and destroyed, resulting in damage to an “eight-function machine and an Aesthera Isolaz machine,” which are both used in interstate commerce for professional skin treatment.
Sanborn was arrested by the Mobile Police Department on Monday, July 14, and held for safekeeping for the U.S. Marshal Service.
A motion for detention was also filed against Sanborn, citing a flight risk, a risk of obstructing or attempting to obstruct justice, a risk of intimidating or threatening a prospective witness or juror, potentially jeopardizing the safety of another person or the community and for a possible drug offense.
However, in a detention hearing on July 15, Magistrate Judge William Cassidy denied the government’s motion of detention.
“Obviously, she’s not a risk of flight,” said attorney Gordon Armstrong, who represented Sanborn during the hearing. “She would have already gone somewhere. The judge found that was not even a remote possibility.”
On Sanborn being a danger to the community, Armstrong said the prosecution “offered up information that she got into some litigation over a motor vehicle accident where someone backed into her car.” He said the accident led to a dispute over about $1500.
“She’s not a threat to the community,” Armstrong said. “We fought it, and she’s out.”
Armstrong said there was absolutely no evidence brought out in court that indicated Sanborn intimidated anyone.
The motion for detention stated there was also probable cause to believe Sanborn committed a drug offense, which calls for a minimum of 10 years in prison. However, Armstrong said this was an error on the document itself.
“They checked the wrong box,” he said. “The judge brought up that the government had checked the wrong box. There were no allegations of drug use or abuse or anything drug related.”
Sanborn pleaded not guilty in her initial hearing.
She was released with conditions and her passport was seized. She is currently on bond status, according to U.S. Marshal Deputy Marcus Malone. Jury selection in the case has been scheduled for Sept. 3.
“I don’t know how strong the evidence is,” Armstrong said. “Obviously if it was real strong, she would have been arrested sooner. I think they struggled with the fact that it’s not a clear case … Apparently there was a lot of activity back in 2009 when the investigation was first started … what’s been going on since 2009, I don’t know. Nothing has changed. It’s not like there is suddenly some new revealing.”
Because Sanborn qualified for a federal defender, Armstrong will no longer represent her but said he anticipates a trial will take place in November or December, maybe even as late as January 2015.
“There are going to be experts involved,” he said. “There will be a lot of scheduling that will have to be accommodated.”
The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department would not release an incident report in the case, noting the federal jurisdiction.
Sanborn has been listed as registered agent for the skin care center since 2000.