Wife’s infidelity drives man to arson

A gavel is shown in a U.S. courtroom (MGN online)
A gavel is shown in a U.S. courtroom (MGN online)

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A Medford man upset over his wife’s infidelity and financial issues was convicted Friday of arson after he snatched empty pizza boxes from a Dumpster and set them on fire near her apartment complex.

The Medford Mail Tribune reports a Jackson County jury deliberated for just 20 minutes before it found 47-year-old Darnell L. Walls of first-degree arson, a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven and a half years.

Prosecutor Nicholas Geil says Walls was trying to scare his wife.

Geil says the March 17 fire could easily have entered the complex through windows or the attic and killed many people inside.

Defense lawyer Michael Bertholf acknowledged that his client made a foolish decision, but says he didn’t merit first-degree arson.

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