The woman who burned down the “Senator” finally sentenced


  • via

Sara Barnes might just be the most hated woman in Central Florida after burning down what was the oldest pond cypress tree in the world, the “Senator,” whose ashy remnants now remain in Big Tree Park. Yesterday Barnes, who was also addicted to meth at the time of the torching, entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to five years of probation (including periodic drug tests) and 250 hours of community service. Judge Galluzzo also ordered Barnes to pay a grand total of $13,981 in fines for the removal of our beloved Senator’s poor, scorched stump and investigation costs.

For the moment, Barnes will be walking among us while paying off her evildoing with manual labor. However, though prison time is not usually the penalty for tree burning per sentencing guidelines, if Barnes violates her probation she'll be sent directly to the slammer. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.