Butler County man sentenced for starting New Year’s Day Jeep fire with wife, her children in home

What to know about how the court process works in Butler County.

A Middletown man has been sentenced to a decade behind bars for starting a fire that spread to a house with his wife and her two children inside on New Year’s Day.

Maston Leamon Murphy III, 36, was indicted in February by a Butler County grand jury on four counts of aggravated arson and one count of arson, all felonies.

Maston Murphy, 36, was charged with four counts of aggravated arson after he allegedly started a house fire Friday morning on Baltimore Street while his wife and her two children were inside. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Maston Murphy, 36, was charged with four counts of aggravated arson after he allegedly started a house fire Friday morning on Baltimore Street while his wife and her two children were inside. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Murphy was accused of setting his wife’s Jeep on fire. Flames spread to the house while she and her children were sleeping inside.

Last month, Murphy pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated arson, and the remainder of the charges were dismissed, according to court documents. He faced the maximum of 11 years in prison.

On Thursday, Judge Keith Spaeth sentenced Murphy to 10 years in prison.

Maston Leamon Murphy III
Maston Leamon Murphy III

Credit: Butler County Jail

Credit: Butler County Jail

Murphy, who confessed to starting the fire that included pouring gasoline on the Jeep, was arrested by Middletown police Jan. 1, a few hours after the fire, according to police records and fire officials.

ExploreMiddletown man charged after allegedly setting fire while wife, her two daughters inside home

His wife, Brittani Murphy, 30, said in January she was sleeping at 6:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day in her Baltimore Street home when she heard a loud knock at her front door. A neighbor told her flames were visible. She went to the bathroom and saw flames shooting through the window, she said.

She quickly got her two daughters, 8 and 6, out of the house. The three suffered minor smoke inhalation, according to the fire report.

Staff Writer Rick McCrabb contributed to this report.

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