A Massachusetts man was convicted last week of trying to burn down his former girlfriend’s house while she was still in it. It took the jury just one hour to decide to give the maximum sentence of two years for malicious destruction of property to Shemroy Williams, 31. Police say he used Cheetos, which according to website Lifehacker.com are a natural flame accelerant, to try and ignite a canister of propane gas underneath his victims back porch.
The 25-year-old victim had previously been in a romantic relationship with Williams. However, after they broke up he had begun to stalk and intimidate her. She told police, prior to trying to burn her house down he had destroyed a cell phone of hers, vandalized her car and told her he thinks about killing her.
On March 10, the victim was having breakfast at home with a friend when Williams began banging on the house and screaming her name. She quickly became aware that he had set five small fires around her property. She ran to a nearby restaurant and called 911. Firefighters found the propane tank, which had been removed from a nearby gas grill, wedged underneath the porch and were able to remove it before it exploded. Police found Williams standing in plain view nearby with two lighters and an empty bag of Cheetos in his pocket.
At his sentencing District Attorney Thomas Quinn said, “The defendant engaged in outrageous behavior that jeopardized the safety of the intended victim, her friend and first responders,” adding, “I want to thank Deputy Fire Chief Scott Dexter for his quick response and removal of the propane tank. I would also like to thank Judge Brennan for imposing the maximum jail sentence, which was well deserved.”
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