Terre Haute man convicted in 2020 fire that killed brother

A Terre Haute man has been convicted of murder and arson for starting an apartment fire that killed his brother, who rushed into the building in an apparent attempt to warn residents about the fire.

A Vigo County jury deliberated less than two hours Thursday before convicting Samuel E. Haney Jr. on two felony counts of murder, two counts of arson and burglary.

Haney, 55, also admitted to being a habitual offender, which enhances the sentencing penalty. He will face up to 97 years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 21.

The murder charges Haney was convicted of are considered “felony murder” because they allege loss of life connected to another criminal act, in this case arson and burglary, the Tribune-Star reported.

Police, fire investigators and witnesses said Haney had been at the scene in April 2020 before the fire began in the apartment of his former girlfriend.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts said Haney had been drinking and was angry that his younger brother, Terry Haney, had been staying at the ex-girlfriend’s home.

Terry Haney was seen rushing into the burning apartment building in an apparent attempt to alert the residents. He was overcome by smoke and heat and died days later at an Indianapolis hospital.

The occupants of the building escaped the fire.

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