A 41-year-old convicted sex offender was allowed Thursday to withdraw her guilty plea to setting a fire in a Santa Ana apartment building that injured two victims.

Carrie Marie Immel pleaded guilty Dec. 4 to arson causing great bodily injury, arson of an inhabited structure and arson of property, all felonies, and admitted a sentencing enhancement for an arson causing great bodily injury.

At her scheduled sentencing hearing, Orange County Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino granted the defendant’s motion to withdraw her guilty plea. She was ordered to return to court April 4 for a pretrial hearing.

When Immel entered her guilty plea last month, Makino promised not to sentence her to more than seven years in prison. Her attorney, Kevin Song, did not join in the guilty plea last month.

Immel started a three-alarm fire just after midnight July 11 at the Saddleback Lodge at 1655 E. First St., according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

Eight to 10 apartments were damaged or destroyed, according to Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority, who said the American Red Cross was called in to assist 18 displaced residents.

A 30-year-old man was taken to a hospital in critical condition with burn injuries, Bommarito said. That victim and another woman who was injured in the blaze made a victim impact statement to the judge at a Jan. 17 hearing.

Immel pleaded guilty on July 2, 2015, to a felony charge for assisting a co-defendant in having an underage girl “engage in posing and modeling for purposes of preparing film and photographs involving sexual conduct by a minor,” court documents show. She was sentenced to 16 months in prison and given credit for 468 days she spent behind bars awaiting trial.

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