Friday, January 13, 2006

Best man toasted the groom, then his house

Shannon Gear Williams and her husband, Anthony, look at their burned house in Hampton, Virginia.

A newlywed couple's best man was sentenced to nine years in prison for torching the groom's house during the honeymoon.

Joseph T. Overton, pleaded guilty in October to arson and manufacture of explosive devices. He was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to repay insurance companies that paid claims on the fire. The home is being rebuilt.

Overton was the best man at the wedding of Anthony and Shannon Williams two days before the explosions last April.

Williams said he and Overton had argued a year before the fire, after he told Overton's wife that Overton had been cheating on her. But they patched things up, he said, and Overton toasted the couple at their wedding.

Anthony Williams said he was satisfied with the punishment. "He feels sorry for this, I know he does," he said.

Circuit Court Judge Von Piersall could have sentenced Overton to life in prison. The prosecutor had sought at least 20 years.



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