FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — A 62-year-old man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for setting his childhood home on fire in a feud with his brother.
Fort Worth resident Jeffery Pruett was convicted of arson last week and must serve 10 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Pruett and his two siblings grew up in the southwest Fort Worth home, located in the 7600 block of Osbun Street.
Several years ago, Pruett’s older brother moved back into the home to care for his ailing parents. Their father died in 2004; their mother passed away in July 2012.
After their mother’s death, Pruett became angry that his brother remained in the house without paying rent.
On Dec. 19, 2012 — shortly after his brother left the home — Pruett poured an ignitable liquid on the side of the house, set it on fire, and fled. The fire damaged an exterior wall and nearby bushes and grass.
Neighbors called 9-1-1 and helped contain the fire with a garden hose until firefighters arrived.
Though a warrant was issued, Pruett was not arrested for several weeks because he was homeless and could not be located.
During the punishment phase, family and friends testified that they were afraid of Pruett, who has a history of mental illness. Jurors also learned of a long history of threats and altercations between the two brothers.
“We are all told not to play with fire as small children,” said Prosecutor Tracey Kapsidelis. “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.”
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