Washington man sentenced to 1 to 5 years for arson

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A Washington man will spend the next one to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty Thursday to setting a city home on fire in November.


Anthony Montgomery, 21, pleaded guilty to arson before Washington County Judge Valarie Costanzo. Montgomery admitted to starting a fire at 770 1/2 Ewing St., the home of a former female acquaintance, Rosella Milchak.


Several witnesses reported seeing Montgomery place items in a garbage can, light the items on fire, place the can against a door to the home and run off on in the early evening Nov. 19. Brenda Clutter, who identified herself to a reporter as Montgomery’s aunt, was inside the home when the fire started about 4:30 p.m. but managed to escape before the house became engulfed in flames. Court records allege Montgomery poured gasoline on a pile of garbage on a porch at the rear of the home and set it on fire.


Clutter said Montgomery was having problems with another woman who lived at the home. That woman told police Montgomery saw her and another man at Washington Crown Center mall and became jealous, Washington police Chief Chris Luppino said. The woman also told police Montgomery threatened to burn down her house.


Costanzo ordered Montgomery to have a mental health evaluation and not to have contact with the victim. Montgomery was also ordered to pay $89,412 in restitution, which is subject to modification as repairs to the home are completed.


Additional charges were not pursed as a part of a negotiated plea agreement.


Montgomery will remain in the Washington County jail until he is moved to a state prison.


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