MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL) — A federal jury in Montgomery convicted a woman of arson and possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.
Court records and evidence presented at trial indicate 29-year-old Xiaoqin Yan ignited multiple fires around First Baptist Church Montgomery on September 30, 2021.
Surveillance videos showed a woman carrying duffel bags and a plastic bag into the church during its Wednesday night service. Just after 2:00 a.m. on September 30, the video showed the same individual removing silver containers from one of her bags and igniting fires around the building.
Investigators identified the vehicle driven by the suspect and obtained a tag number linking the vehicle to Yan. During her arrest at a residence in Montgomery on October 4, 2021, agents found duffel bags as well as clothing, gas containers, starter logs, and lighters. Officers also found a handgun.
At the time of the arson and her arrest, Yan was in the United States illegally due to overstaying her non-immigrant visa. Yan faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled in the coming months.