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Lawyer under restraining order caught on video setting ex's home on fire pleads guilty

1 month 3 weeks 3 days ago Monday, May 20 2024 May 20, 2024 May 20, 2024 5:49 PM May 20, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — A man arrested in 2023 for setting fire to an ex-girlfriend's home after repeatedly violating a restraining order she filed against him pleaded guilty Monday, court records show.

Texas-based lawyer Christian King, 31, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aggravated arson, with 17 of those years suspended. King will also be credited with time served since the arrest in January 2023. Judge Eboni Johnson Rose also sentenced him to be on probation for five years after his release.

King was initially being charged with criminal damage to property and violation of a protective order, but the charges were dismissed.

According to court records, King must leave the State of Louisiana permanently, with the exception of his first felony probation review date within 72 hours of the moment he is released. His probation will be transferred to Georgia. He must also pay $2,500 in restitution, complete a 26-week domestic violence program, wear an ankle monitor while on his probation and register as an arsonist for 10 years.

The State Bar of Texas said in January 2023 that the status of his license would likely depend on the outcome of the criminal case. As of Monday, he is still listed as eligible to practice law on the State Bar of Texas' website.

Breanna Jones, King's ex and the mother of his child, had repeatedly filed restraining orders against King before the fire. Before the fire, Jones said King showed up and slashed the tires on her and her mother's vehicles. 

"I reported multiple times, and until the fire, he was just walking free continually harassing me," Jones told WBRZ in October. "I never feel safe, I am on edge all day, every day. I am in therapy for it trying to get better."

When King set fire to Jones' Southmoor Drive home in January 2023, he had violated the protective order on seven different occasions since December 2022, a report from the Assured Supervision Accountability Program said. This included the morning of the arson.

Video from Jones' surveillance system clearly showed King walk up to the home, pour gasoline on the door and the front porch, light it with a match and walk away as the front of the home burst into flames. The fire caused thousands of dollars of property damage, Jones added.

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