Man Who Lit Woman, Her Mother on Fire Heading to Prison

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eddie de los santos

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — The man who was arrested for intentionally lighting his girlfriend and her mother on fire was sentenced to prison.

A district court judge sentenced Esperidion “Eddie” De Los Santos to 25 years in prison Monday. De Los Santos pleaded guilty in January to two counts of attempted murder and first-degree arson.

Police say De Los Santos doused his girlfriend with gasoline lit her on fire with a cigarette in January 2015. The fumes from the gasoline spread to the woman’s mother, who then also caught fire.

The charges carry a prison sentence of up to 25 years, but De Los Santos will be able to serve the sentences concurrently. He will be eligible for parole in 17 years and six months.

Case Background

Officers were called to a disturbance at 106 North 4th Street just before 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. On their way to the apartment, it became a fire call.

Police say De Los Santos and his girlfriend, Keyslea Herne, were fighting when he intentionally set her on fire. De Lost Santos and Herne were living with Herne’s mother, Betty Burch, at the time.

“Keyslea ran to me blazed up on fire. And she fell down. And when she fell down it was like she fainted. The fire from her head to her waistline. She was screaming out,” Burch told Channel 13 last year.

Burch tried to snuff out the flames.

“Then he threw gas at my face, a cup or something. I seen him pour something up, throw it then reach in the back of his arm with, have like WD-40 can to blaze it up more. Like a torch. This is the way he did it. He flicked his lighter then he blazed it up and it hit me in the face.” Burch recalled.

Police say De Los Santos ran off after setting the rest of the home on fire. Officers searched the area and found De Los Santos hiding in a car.

The fire call was the second time police went to the residence. Four hours earlier, officers had to break up an argument between De Los Santos and his girlfriend.