Terre Haute man gets 70 years for fire that killed brother

A Terre Haute man has been sentenced to 70 years in prison for starting an apartment fire that killed his brother, who rushed into the building in an apparent attempt to warn residents about the fire.

After Thursday’s sentencing, Samuel E. Haney Jr., 56, said he plans to appeal his sentence, the Tribune-Star reported.

A jury convicted Haney in September of two counts reach of murder and arson and a burglary charge in the April 2020 fire. He received 60 years on a murder conviction, concurrent 10-year sentences for arson and burglary and an additional 10 years for admitting to being a habitual offender.

Vigo Superior Court Judge John Roach said he felt Haney deserved an aggravated sentence based on his criminal history, which includes a previous arson conviction.

“You are a dangerous individual. You are the very definition of a dangerous individual who has forfeited his rights to live in society,” the judge said.

Police, fire investigators and witnesses said Haney had been at the scene in April 2020 before the fire began in the Terre Haute apartment of his former girlfriend, who was not at home at the time.

Haney’s brother, Terry Haney, 52, 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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