A South Carolina woman is homeless and distraught after she says her husband and father to her 12-year-old son turned their home to ash in a fit of rage weeks after scrolling through a series of suspicious text messages that she claims were ginned up in a futile attempt to humble him.
“This was something he misunderstood,” 36-year-old Melanie Shaw told Oxygen.com on Monday.
Antonio Meadows, 40, was arrested late Friday night by Andrews Police Department officers and Williamsburg County Sheriff’s deputies.
He was charged with arson and was released from the Georgetown County Jail on Saturday, records show.
Police say Meadows charred his mobile home located on Martin Luther King Blvd., in Andrews, South Carolina, as an act of revenge because he suspected Shaw of carrying on an affair.
“A couple weeks ago he was going through my cell phone and saw some messages and he thought it was another guy texting me,” Shaw said. “He just flipped out.”
But Meadows' anger simmered until he made a grim threat to Shaw, she said.
“I know the day before [the fire] he told me, ‘I ain’t going to hurt you and my son,’” Shaw said he told her before stating, ‘But I got something for ya.’
“I guess that’s what he had for me,” she said.
Only Shaw claims her husband's jealousy was misguided. That’s because the scandalous texts that Meadows thought were sent to his wife were fakes.
“I said to myself, ‘I’m tired of you going through my phone,” Melanie Shaw told Oxygen.com, claiming that her husband of 15 years was constantly spying on her cell phone without her permission.
Together with a girlfriend, they concocted a way to teach Meadows a lesson.
Shaw claims the pair sent text messages to appear as though they were typed and sent by a secret admirer.
Real or not, Meadows allegedly confessed to cops of feeling betrayed. So he lugged a gallon jug of gasoline to the home, doused it and set it on fire, according to the police report acquired by Oxygen.com.
Andrews Police Chief Tyrone York confirmed the home was fortunately empty and Meadows was alone.
“It happened without anybody noticing,” York said, almost stunned that more damage didn’t occur since the home sat next to several other dwellings.
Shaw said she wasn’t there when the home went up in smoke because about 10 minutes before, she hitched a ride to a nearby store to buy a Mountain Dew and some cigarettes.
“When I came back the whole thing was in flames," said Shaw, adding that she only glimpsed her husband fleeing the scene.
“He was getting in his car and riding off fast,” she said.
According to the police report, Meadows allegedly sped off in a white Cadillac with paper dealer tags.
Authorities soon tracked him down at his grandmother’s house in nearby Salters, South Carolina.
The police then discovered a gas jug inside the front seat of the vehicle with its door pried open, the report states.
Meadows, who received medical attention from being burnt, was also deeply troubled.
After being given his Miranda Rights, the report goes on, Meadows allegedly told arresting officers “to put a bullet" in his head and told them that he "was ready to die.”
The report notes that Meadows allegedly admitted to setting fire to his home because “he found out through text message that his wife was cheating on him.”
It’s unclear if Meadows has retained an attorney, but Shaw said he underwent surgery on Monday for the leg burns he suffered during the alleged meltdown.
Even prior to the fire, Shaw said that Meadows had been on disability for years.
Moving on for Shaw is going to be tough.
“I basically lost everything,” she said referring to all of her home and ticking off a list of possessions destroyed in the wreckage.
“My jewelry -- I had plenty of that,” she said. “I had a lot of Michael Kors pocket books. It’s all materialistic, but it’s mine. Everything is gone; TV, bed.”
While Shaw admits there were some “good times in the marriage” but is skeptical about sticking with Meadows.
“I don’t know if I can get through this,” the woman, a former dishwasher said, sobbing. “This is extreme. This is too much.”
And Shaw remains fearful for her safety and for the couple’s 12-year-old son, whom she is grateful “wasn’t there during all of this.”
“Just imagine what he probably would do to me the next time,” she said.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.