Mary Lucille Gutierrez (Jail photo)
WACO (July 16, 2012)--A former school nurse pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to setting a fire at the building where she worked after a disagreement with an administrator.
Mary Lucille Gutierrez, 56, pleaded guilty before a jury in 54th state District Court just after 12:45 p.m. Monday.
The jury was seated in order to hear Gutierrez's plea and then sort through evidence to arrive at her punishment.
Gutierrez pleaded guilty to criminal mischief more than $200,000, a second-degree felony, in connection with the Aug. 9, 2011 fire at Speegleville Elementary School.
Gutierrez's attorney said Monday the former nurse can qualify for probation.
The jury was seated just before 1 p.m., after which jurors heard the plea and then broke for lunch.
Opening statements in the punishment phase of the trial were set to begin at about 2 p.m.
The school has been repaired at a cost of more than $2 million and is set to re-open this August.
According to an affidavit submitted for the arrest warrant, sheriff's investigators interviewed Gutierrez after the school district identified her as a suspect in the fire.
The affidavit says Gutierrez admitted to investigators that she set the fire.
She was arrested Aug. 11, 2011.
The kindergarten wing suffered fire, smoke, heat, and water damage and there was smoke and water damage throughout