FL woman sentenced for burning down 3,500-year-old tree so she could see her meth

By Tom Boggioni
Sunday, June 8, 2014 18:19 EDT
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A Florida woman was sentenced on Wednesday to 2 1/2 years in prison, with all time suspended if she completes the terms of her probation, for her part in burning down a landmark 3,500-year-old cypress tree in 2012 so she could see the drugs she was using in the dark.

Sara Barnes, 28, pleaded no contest  to unlawful burning of lands and possession of methamphetamine and must perform 250 hours of manual labor, pay restitution, and must submit to a substance-abuse testing, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Barnes set fire to The Senator in Big Tree Park, reputed to be one of the largest and oldest baldcypress trees in the world. The Senator was 118 feet tall and about 18 feet wide, and was estimated to be 3,500 years old.

Prior to the opening of Disney World, The Senator was a popular tourist attraction, as well as a favorite of locals.

According to Barnes, she set the fire that consumed the tree because it was dark and she wanted to see the drugs she was using, court records show.

Barnes still faces a court appearance related to a February DUI arrest and for violating the terms of her parole.

Watch file footage of the tree burning from The Orlando Sentinel below:

Tom Boggioni
Tom Boggioni
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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