Idaho Falls man gets 19 years in prison for arson

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A 44-year-old Idaho Falls man has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for setting fire to the home of an attorney and her police officer husband.

District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. sentenced Melvin Savage Thursday to 19 years with the possibility of parole after serving for four years.

Savage apologized to a teary-eyed courtroom for setting fire in December to the home of the attorney who represented his ex-wife, The Post Register reported (

"I stand here completely humbled by my significant error," he said. "I am truly sorry."

He lit a gas can on fire near a window well of the home of Laurie Gaffney, who represented his ex-wife during the couple's divorce proceedings. Gaffney said she was awake and worried for her family that night.

"I kept the door open and I was awake at 1 a.m. waiting for him to come," Gaffney said. "While my daughter slept, her fire escape by her window was on fire."

Gaffney testified she was able to get her family out of the house. She said she took her two children and put them in her vehicle with the garage door shut and a gun on her lap.

"I was afraid to pull out of my own house," Gaffney said.

Savage's mother, Cathy Ann Carlson, said her son felt remorse for starting the fire.

"He will abide by the consequences," Carlson said. "My condolences go to out to the victims. I hope she knows she (Gaffney) has nothing to fear."


Information from: Post Register,

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