Jefferson County man sentenced following arson charge, threatening text messages

Published 4:16 pm Monday, April 10, 2023

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A Jefferson County man was sentenced to probation, restitution for intentionally setting a house on fire.

Jacob Owen Graves pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced Monday to 10 years deferred probation. He must also pay $3,500 restitution and a $500 fine. A felony stalking charge was dismissed, according to information from Judge Raquel West’s 252nd District Court.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Graves sent texts and calls to his estranged wife threatening to burn down the house in Winnie that a judge awarded use of to her. On Aug. 27, a call for service was received by the Hamshire-Fannett Volunteer Fire Department involving a residential fire at the residence. Upon arrival the house was engulfed in flames.

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The day prior to the fire, Graves texted the woman that if she didn’t get to the house in 15 minutes he would “burn the (expletive) down.” On the day of the fire, he called the woman and said the house is hers and he’d left a couple of surprises for her, court documents say.

The document also says on the day after the fire, Graves called the woman again and said something similar to, “you really didn’t believe I was ever going to let you step foot back in that (expletive) house again?”

The fire marshal with the City of Port Arthur investigated the case and said the fire likely started from an outside heat source introduced to an ignitable combustible in and around the front door and master bedroom closet. Gasoline cans were reportedly found left in the yard at the house and the cause of the fire was deemed incendiary. Graves was arrested on Sept. 15 on a warrant for arson.