A 45-year-old Kearney man has been sentenced for the attempted arson of his home while his two roommates slept inside.
Brad Gladwell was sentenced Monday in Buffalo County District Court to 90 days in jail and 4 years of probation, in addition to the 54 days he has already served.
He was arrested in January after authorities responded to a strong smell of gas at his Kearney home. Police found that he had poured gasoline on the top floor of his house and was planning to set it on fire.
Gladwell initially pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted homicide and attempted arson, but last month prosecutors agreed to drop the attempted homicide charges in exchange for the a no contest plea.
In an interview with NTV News back in January, Gladwell's then roommate, Tiffany Harris, described waking up in the middle of the night to the overwhelming smell of gasoline fumes filling their house.
"I woke Danny up and said, 'Danny, what is that smell?' And he jumped up and he said, 'It smells like gas," she said, "and he started messing with the stove and I was like, 'It's not propane. It smells like gasoline or kerosene.'"
She says she knew immediately that Gladwell was to blame.
"I knew he had done something, because he had been doing a lot of stuff lately, like messing with the furnace and stuff like that, so I knew that he had done something," she said.
According to court records, Gladwell was depressed because his house at 18 East 29th St. was being foreclosed on, so he doused the top floor and himself with gasoline – all in an attempt to commit suicide.
But Harris suspected Gladwell had another reason for attempting to set the blaze.
"He has homeowners insurance, so he planned on burning the house down to pay for his home," she said.
In court Monday, Gladwell's attorney, Daniel Stockman, blamed what he called an adjustment disorder, mild autism and childhood abuse for his client's actions.
But the state argued that even after going through counseling, Gladwell still refused to accept responsibility for what he did.
Gladwell spoke out in court, telling the judge that he has since moved to Omaha and is trying to turn his life around.
"I feel like I'm trying to make a better life for myself...I'd like to try to start over in Omaha...I feel like I'm improving."
The house he tried to torch now sits vacant, with a notice of foreclosure on the front door dated Jan. 16.
Gladwell will complete his jail time at the Buffalo County Detention Center. In addition, the judge ordered him to undergo counseling and complete a financial program as part of his sentence.
NTV News attempted to reach out to his former roommates, but both of their numbers have been disconnected.