Fort Worth man gets 20 years for setting childhood home on fire

05/19/2014 12:33 PM

05/19/2014 12:34 PM

A man convicted of torching his childhood home in 2012 because he was angry with his brother has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for arson.

Jeffery Pruett, 62, who had been eligible for probation must serve 10 years before he is eligible for parole, according to officials at the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

A Tarrant County jury needed less than 30 minutes last week to convict the Fort Worth man and about the same amount of time to reach a sentence.

“We are all told not to play with fire as small children,” prosecutor Tracey Kapsidelis said in a news release. “If not for the quick-thinking observations and actions of concerned neighbors, this could have been much worse. The jury took everything into consideration, choosing not to reward the defendant for his choices during family disputes.”

Pruett set fire to his parents’ small home in the 7600 block of Osbun Street in Fort Worth on Dec. 19, 2012, damaging an exterior wall near a bedroom and some nearby bushes and grass. Neighbors called 911 and helped control the blaze with a garden hose until firefighters arrived. No injuries were reported.

Kapsidelis and fellow prosecutors Allenna Bangs presented evidence that Pruett and his two siblings grew up in the Osbun Street home. Several years ago, Pruett’s older brother moved back into the house to take care of their parents. Their father died in 2004, their mother in July 2012.

Pruett became obsessed with the division of their mother’s estate and angry that his brother was still living in the house and not paying rent, according to evidence.

On Dec. 19, 2012, after his brother left for lunch, Pruett poured flammable liquid on the side of the house, ignited it and fled the scene.

During the punishment phase of the trial, jurors learned that Pruett and his brother had a history of problems, marked by threats and altercations. Family and friends testified last week that they were afraid of Pruett, who has a history of mental illness.

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