GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - In 1992, Sonnie Lamont Anderson was convicted of intentionally setting a Gulfport property on fire. Fast forward more than 20 years, and several more felony convictions, and Anderson is back where he began: facing prison time for arson. This time, the 39-year-old is a habitual offender, which means his 15 year sentence must be served day for day, without the possibility of parole.
This most recent crime happened in December 2012 on 20th Avenue, just blocks away from that first arson in the early 90s. Neighbors told officers they saw Anderson enter the home with a can of gasoline and minutes later noticed smoke coming from the home.
"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.
After his arrest, Anderson confessed 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 a hallway into a bedroom and out the rear exit door where an ignition point was found," said ADA Robert McCormick, who prosecuted the case on behalf of the state.
Between 1992 and 1998, Anderson was convicted of felony drug charges and shooting into an unoccupied dwelling.