23 March 2022
A 28-year-old man has been sentenced to a 15-year term for setting on fire a Coon Rapids townhouse where his ex-girlfriend lived.
Mark A. Lacek, of Mounds View, was sentenced Tuesday in Anoka County District Court in connection with the fire that was just before midnight on Sept. 16, 2020.
Lacek pleaded guilty in December to first-degree attempted murder. With credit for time in jail since his arrest, he is expected to serve roughly nine years in prison and the balance on supervised release.
“The truth is I had no plan to hurt anyone that night,” Lacek wrote in a letter to the court before sentencing. “I was in a drug-induced and unhealthy mental state that night, but I know I made a mistake and harmed others because of my actions. I know I started the fire, but I wasn’t fully aware of how dangerous it was or how out of control it could have gotten.”
Police were called to the fire at the townhouse in the 12000 block of Xeon Street and arrived to see a man trapped upstairs as flames grew below. Officers forced their way into the home and helped the man escape uninjured.
Firefighters put out the blaze and determined that a “significant amount of gasoline” was poured through broken-out windows, according to the criminal complaint.
The man told police that Lacek had shown up at the home earlier and demanded to be let in. Rebuffed, Lacek left, but soon returned. That’s about the time the man, who was upstairs, heard windows breaking below and saw that the lower level on fire, according to the charges.
Officers saw Lacek’s car leaving the scene at more than 100 miles per hour and were unable to detain him.
The woman told police she had broken up with Lacek shortly before the fire and that he had become increasingly hostile and unstable. At one point, she said, he threatened to kill her by burning down her home, according to the charges.
Police found four gasoline cans lined up next to Lacek’s car at his home, where he was arrested.