Man sentenced in connection to fires set in Montgomery County
Leroy Wayne Gardiner pleaded guilty in both cases
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – A Splendora man was sentenced Thursday in connection with two arson incidents -- one in 2015 and one in 2005.
East Montgomery County firefighters were called to a house on Oak Leaf Loop in Splendora on the evening of March 11.
Firefighters arrived to find a two-story home on fire. The home was destroyed in the fire.
Investigators said the fire was intentionally set and issued a warrant for 47-year-old Leroy Wayne Gardiner.
During the investigation, officers learned that Gardiner lives next door to the home that burned and had been involved in a dispute with the homeowner earlier that day that resulted in law enforcement being summoned to the property.
Montgomery County Fire Marshall's Office investigators found evidence that led them to believe Gardiner had threatened his neighbor’s life that day and later that evening returned to the property and set the building on fire.
Gardiner was arrested on April 14, 2015, and charged with arson of a habitation, a first-degree felony.
During the investigation, investigators linked Gardiner to another structure fire set in the same area in 2005. Investigators were eventually able to charge Gardiner with setting that fire, as well.
Earlier this week, just as his trial was set to begin in the 359th District Court, Gardiner pleaded guilty in both arson cases.
After testimony in the punishment phase from both the officer who responded to the 2015 fire and investigators, he was sentenced to serve concurrent sentences of 20 years for the 2005 arson and 35 years in the 2015 case.