Arsonist jailed for 12 years

A 33-year-old convicted arsonist has been sentenced to almost 12 years in prison for setting a fire that killed two men in a Vancouver home.

Theodore Lester Wells was convicted of one count of arson and two counts of manslaughter this past summer for splashing gas on the house in 1999 and lighting it ablaze, trapping two occupants inside.

Alexander James Conto, the homeowner, and Nicholas Leonard Cortner, the tenant, were overcome by smoke and died.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman says Wells may not have planned the arson but he carried it out to gain personal benefit or the repayment of a debt.

In his written judgment, Silverman cited the need to denounce the crime and deter others by sentencing Wells to 11 years and 10 months behind bars.

Wells has already served two federal prison sentences for breaking and entering and forcible confinement, as well as assault causing bodily harm.

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