Crime

He burned down their home after arguing with his wife. Now he’s been sentenced

A man who burned down his Puyallup-area home after his wife sought a divorce and refused to buy him a cellphone has been sentenced.

Joe Keizer Butler, 65, was charged with first-degree arson for the Aug. 16 fire.

Monday he pleaded guilty, and Pierce County Superior Court Judge John Hickman sentenced him to two years, two months behind bars.

Butler’s attorney did not return a News Tribune message for comment.

Flames destroyed the home in the 5900 block of 66th Avenue East, where police found Butler covered in soot in the driveway, a lighter in his pocket, according to charging papers.

He reportedly argued with his wife earlier that day when she said she didn’t have the money to buy him a cellphone, and because she was filing for divorce.

The wife, Vicki Butler, wrote the court this month that they were married for 25 years.

The fire he started destroyed her clothes, antiques, sterling silver, china, holiday decorations, jewelry, Seattle Seahawks collection and food she canned herself, she said.

“... if he is out of jail, I know he will come looking for me,” she wrote. “I hope he is locked away for a long time so myself, my family and my community can be safe from him.”

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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