Woman Arrested for Connecticut Nursing Home Fire

A woman charged with starting a nursing home fire that killed 16 people was arrested Thursday and ordered to undergo psychological testing to see if she is competent to stand trial.


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A woman charged with starting a nursing home fire that killed 16 people was arrested Thursday and ordered to undergo psychological testing to see if she is competent to stand trial.

Leslie Andino, 23, is charged with 16 counts of arson murder and one count of third-degree arson. A pre-dawn fire Feb. 26 forced some patients into the piercing cold, many of them elderly and mentally handicapped. Ten people died that day and six more died later.

Andino told police she started the fire while lying in bed and flicking her lighter. Her legal guardian, Christopher Rossitti, said she suffers from multiple sclerosis, dementia and depression,

Tests by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show it would have taken two seconds of exposure to a direct flame or longer for the bedding to ignite, according to the arrest affidavit, which was released Thursday.

During Andino's court appearance Thursday, bond was set at $2.5 million. She was ordered back in court July 24.

Sydney Schulman, a spokesman for Andino's family, said she did not intentionally set the fire. He also said Andino was not competent to enter a plea.

``This makes a mockery of the process and a mockery of justice,'' Schulman said.

Rossitti would not say if he thought Andino was competent to stand trial.

``Suffice it to say the court was satisfied there was a basis for ordering the evaluation,'' he said.