Mark Johnston
Yvette Kimber speaks with attorney Tom Means in Provo's 4th District Court on Aug. 3, 2011. Kimber was sentenced Friday to spend up to 57 1/2 years in prison for starting an apartment fire in Provo that killed two people and injured a third.

PROVO — A woman convicted of starting a fire in an apartment complex that killed two women and injured another was sentenced Friday to spend up to 57 ½ years in prison.

Yvette Kimber, 48, was sentenced in 4th District Court to serve four consecutive terms of one to 15 years for arson, aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and two counts of manslaughter, all second-degree felonies.

Kimber was given credit for 948 days already served. She was also ordered to pay a $40,000 fine and $12,300 in restitution.

Karen Murray and Catherine Crane died in the fire on March 14, 2011, and Jeanette Spahr was injured after jumping from her second-story unit at the Boulders Apartments, 750 S. 650 West. Spahr was later hospitalized and treated for a broken pelvis and burns.

The night of the fire, Kimber called police and said she was suicidal and planned to overdose on medication, a police affidavit said. One minute after her call, firefighters received notice of the fire.

Kimber told on-scene officers that she fell asleep holding a lit cigarette. She and her boyfriend fought earlier, she said, and she started drinking beer and taking pills, according to the affidavit. She also admitted to smoking marijuana.

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Kimber told police she dropped the cigarette while sitting on the love seat in her living room and looking at a basketball schedule. The cigarette heated up the love seat and a throw pillow caught fire. Kimber then rushed to a neighbor's home next door to report the fire.

"(Police) asked Yvette if she, because of her suicidal feelings, lit the fire on purpose," the affidavit states. "Yvette stated she did not know."

Prosecutors arranged for a plea deal in late August, at which point Kimber entered a guilty plea to the amended charges.

Kimber was initially charged with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated arson, all first-degree felonies.

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