Gulfport man sentenced to 15 years for arson

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole for being a habitual offender of multiple crimes. Sonnie Lamont Anderson, 39, pled guilty to first degree arson in an incident that lead to his arrest on December 13, 2012.

On that day, Gulfport police responded to a house fire at 1912 20th Avenue near downtown. Authorities said witnesses at the scene watched Anderson enter the home with a can of gasoline. Minutes later they described flames coming from the house. After being arrested by police, Anderson admitted to starting the fire.

"A subsequent joint investigation by police and the Gulfport Fire Department revealed that an ignitable liquid was poured in the den area of the house near the sofa, then down the hallway into a bedroom and out the rear exit door where an ignition point was found," said Assistant District Attorney Robert McCormick.

After accepting Anderson's guilty plea, Judge Lisa Dodson sentenced him to 15 years without the possibility of parole as a habitual offender. His criminal record included five previous felony convictions including arson, felony drug charges and shooting into an unoccupied dwelling.

"The alert assistance of citizens in the area helped protect nearby homes that day and led to today's conviction," said District Attorney Joel Smith.

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