PORTAGE | The young man accused of setting fire to his mother's bedroom while she slept and painting a racial slur on her garage door to make the fire look like a hate crime will serve a 41-year prison sentence.
Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper on Tuesday sentenced Brandon Bennett to 38 years in prison for felony arson and three years for a probation violation. The sentences are to run consecutively.
Bennett, 22, of Portage, was arrested in the early morning hours of May 1 after Portage police said he set fire to his mother's home, causing burns to her left foot.
Bennett told police he and his mother, Ginger Bennett, argued at their home on Woodward Street. After she went to bed, he took spray paint and painted a racial slur on the garage door. After painting the racial slur, he took gas and threw it on his mother's bedroom floor, then lit it on fire in an attempt to scare her, police said.
After lighting the fire, he attempted to leave but was found inside his vehicle by his mother.
Ginger Bennett told police she was awakened by a large fire in her bedroom shortly after midnight. She said she tried to leave the bedroom but was unable to do so and crawled through a window. She told police when she reached the front lawn and started yelling for help, she saw her son inside his vehicle parked in the driveway.
The fire caused $15,000 in damage.