Neighbor admits to burning elderly woman alive

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Maria Lucille Meisner 01242019_1548371847763.jpg_68612616_ver1.0_640_360_1548385104736.jpg.jpg

A Beaverton woman who helped her neighbor burn an elderly woman alive will spend at least 25 years behind bars. 

Maria Lucille Meisner was arrested in December 2016 along with her neighbor, Celia Schwab

Schwab had been working as a live-in, unlicensed caretaker for 74-year-old Kathryn Breen at the time. 

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office said Schwab convinced Meisner to help her light Breen on fire while she was lying in her bed. 

Neighbors alerted authorities when they noticed the fire. 

Officials found Breen unconscious with severe burns covering most of her body and she died at a hospital a month later. 

Investigators think Schwab, who had taken money out of Breen’s accounts before the fire, wanted a way out of her caretaking job. 

Schwab died of natural causes less than a year later while the case was still under investigation. 

Meisner pleaded guilty to murder on Wednesday and was given a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years. 

“It was a gruesome betrayal of trust for the defendants to burn an elderly woman alive,” said Deputy DA Mark Richman, who prosecuted the case. “This fact was made worse in that the victim lingered with serious burns for a month before she died. We appreciate that Ms. Meisner has stepped forward to take responsibility for her actions. The life sentence with a 25-year minimum offers the community security against similar acts from her in the future.”

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