VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A woman at the center of a 2017 house fire and missing persons case was sentenced Wednesday to six months in prison on animal cruelty charges.
Monica Lamping entered an Alford plea in the case earlier this year — meaning she didn’t admit guilt, but acknowledges there’s enough evidence for a likely conviction.
Prosecutors said Lamping set her home on fire and took off with her two children in January 2017. Officers found them days later at an eco-village in North Carolina
“I don’t think anybody should get away with what happened,” said Courtney Bullock.
For more than two years Bullock has waited for justice.
“My pets died, because of her actions,” Bullock added. “They were left in a room in a house that was on fire.”
Bullock was living with Monica Lamping at the time of the fire on Sullivan Boulevard.
Firefighters found Bullock’s dog, Nevada, and cat, Boss, dead. Investigators believed the fire was intentionally set.
Lamping, who was in a custody battle, left town with her two children.
“I’m just glad that this book is closed and culminating in today’s sentencing,” said Lamping’s ex-husband Kevin Lamping.
Kevin Lamping says their young son still is dealing the effects from two years ago.
“He still brings up the fire,” Lamping added. “He still talks about the same animals that were mentioned today.”
Prosecutors say they couldn’t prove Lamping started the fire.
Wednesday in court, witnesses testified she suffers from PTSD, depression and is bipolar caused from sexual abuse. Her clinical social worker testified that Lamping left town because she was terrified of the dark shadows hovering over her and her children. She’s now on medication and doing better.
“I think she is very remorseful,” said Lamping’s attorney, James Broccoletti. “I think that she is so focused on her children. I think that some people might mistake that for lack of remorse.”
The judge told Lamping that the are many people with mental illness who don’t do what she did. For that reason he felt there had to be some sort of punishment.
Bullock says the six months behind bars is for Boss and Nevada.
“They were my babies,” Bullock added. “I was supposed to have Nevada her whole live. It wasn’t fair to her. It was fair to me. It just wasn’t fair.”