A Minneapolis woman has been given a term of life in prison after pleading guilty to setting ablaze a camper-trailer in northern Minnesota, then fleeing to the Twin Cities and leaving a man inside to die.
Cora Lee Quaderer, 35, was sentenced Tuesday in Beltrami County District Court on a charge of first-degree murder. She was convicted in connection with the death on Aug. 30, 2022, near Cass Lake of 30-year-old Roy Lee Lovelace, of nearby Bena.
Quaderer entered what is known as a Norgaard plea, meaning she claims being unable to recall committing the crime because she was under the influence of drugs. At the same time, she admitted in court Tuesday that there was enough evidence to convict her if she had chosen to go to trial.
The life sentence does allow Quaderer the opportunity to request that she be granted supervised release after serving 30 years.
According to the criminal complaint:
Law enforcement, fire and emergency medical personnel arrived at the 4700 block of NE. Allens Bay Drive and saw the camper engulfed in flames.
Shortly before the fire erupted, two people told sheriff's deputies they saw Quaderer outside arguing with Lovelace while he was in the camper. One of them said Quaderer was saying she needed to be let in.
Witnesses said they smelled a strong odor of gasoline near the camper and saw Quaderer light a piece of cloth and throw it toward its front door. The fire quickly ignited as Quaderer ran off. Witnesses could hear "Lovelace scream that he could not get out," the complaint read.
Once the fire was extinguished, investigators went in the camper and found Lovelace's body. Quaderer was arrested the next day at a Brooklyn Center gas station and booked into the Beltrami County jail.
Court records in Minnesota show that Quaderer has been convicted five times for theft and three times for drug-related offenses.