Las Vegas woman, Gloria Eun Hye Lee, asks an accomplice, Kirk Bills, to set fire to her own pet shop with dogs and puppies still in it. Bills was seen on tape starting the fire. During the trial Lee stated she was pregnant. This statement did not change the mind of the court and Lee was sentenced to 5 – 14 years in prison. The prosecutor stated he felt Lee was using the pregnancy card to get out of jail free. Las Vegas District Court Judge Barker also told Lee that he believed the request was a just another way for Lee to try to influence the process. It did not work for Lee and the court saw right through it.
Lee owned Prince and Princess pet store in the southwest part of Las Vegas. Lee was caught on camera in January 2014 going through the files and taking them. Kirk Bills proceeded to lay newspapers on the floor along where the puppies and two dogs were, threw flammable liquid over the newspaper, and lit it. Bills is set to be sentenced Monday, March 2.
The fire triggered the automatic sprinklers, which put the fire out before the firemen arrived at the scene, and the dogs and puppies were saved! In October, Lee took a plea deal that dropped 28 charges against her when she plead guilty for attempted animal cruelty charges, arson, and insurance fraud.
Lee had posted bail and was on house arrest in Las Vegas until February, when prosecuting attorney Clowers filed a criminal complaint with 31 charges. Lee’s attorney, Ozzie Fumo, stated that Lee had made all of her court appearances in Las Vegas and asked to keep any new bail set low. Clowers contended that Lee was a danger to society due to the animals that were placed in harm’s way, the extensive damage done by the fire to her store in Las Vegas, and damage done to an adjacent Las Vegas store. Clowers also noted Lee may have been a flight risk.
The judge sent Lee back to jail and bail was set at $310,000. It appears that Lee has had similar incidents prior to her asking an accomplice to set fire to her pet shop in Las Vegas with the dogs still in it. Lee had convictions of larceny from a bank, escape and forgery dating all the way back to 1999. In 2008, Lee was charged for violating county ordinances in caring for animals in her shop, including improper confinement of the animals. Lee corrected the violations and the charges were dropped.
Bills had an arrest warrant issued on him when he could not be located in Las Vegas. He was found by a Chicago FBI violent crimes task force in Crown Point, Indiana. Bills pleaded guilty to attempted animal cruelty and arson. Bills has not been sentenced yet.
The puppies from the store were all adopted by a drawing with each one going for $250 and the proceeds going to the Lied Animal Foundation. The two adult dogs were placed with families by Charity Home 4 Spot.
The trial brought animal rights groups protesting in front of the courthouse at most of Lee’s and Bills’ hearings. It appears Lee will get plenty of time to think about her actions of asking an accomplice to set fire to her pet shop with the dogs still in it as she will be going to prison.
Photo by Rick Ligthelm – License