Accused Arsonist Makes First Court Appearance

A paroled killer accused of setting the deadliest fire in Reno history made her first appearance before a judge today on 12 counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.

47-year-old Valerie Moore appeared before Reno Justice Court Judge Fidel Salcedo via a video hookup from the Washoe County Jail.

He ordered her to remain there without bail and set her preliminary hearing for December 12th.

Moore, a casino cook who lived at the Mizpah Hotel, was arrested
the morning after the October 31st fire swept through the three-story building, killing a dozen people and injuring 31.

Public defender Jennifer Lunt is urging the public to avoid a rush to judgment in the case. She told reporters today it was a horrible, tragic incident that cost people their lives and cost survivors everything they owned. But she says the American justice system dictates that Moore is innocent until proven guilty.

Washoe County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Clifton says he already has gathered so much evidence that the file boxes could fill up half of a courtroom. He says it includes thousands of photographs from a weeklong investigation at the Mizpah Hotel.