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Aransas County man sentenced to life in prison for attempting to light a man on fire

Derouen Mugshot converted.png
Posted at 6:57 PM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 19:58:57-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An Aransas County jury sentenced 58-year-old Layne Derouen on Thursday to life in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after he attempted to set a man on fire.

According to a release from the Aransas County Attorney's Office, testimony from the trial revealed a series of events that led to the guilty verdict.

The release states on June 14, 2022 at 12:40 a.m., Derouen told the victim to leave the property the victim owned.

Derouen then "threw gasoline on (the victim) using a beer can with the top cut off."

The release states Derouen then took out a torch lighter and attempted to light the victim on fire. However, the gasoline never ignited.

Aransas County Sheriff's Office deputies later went to the scene and found the victim with his shirt soaked in gasoline on one side.

During their investigation, officials said they smelled gasoline, found wet spots, and several gas cans near by. They also found the beer can Derouen used to throw the fuel at the victim.

Officials then spoke to Derouen who was sweaty, who said "he had been asleep and did not throw gasoline on anyone."

Deputies searched Derouen's person and found the large torch lighter and "a meth pipe."

"The defendant was then detained in the back of the patrol unit where he allegedly faked losing consciousness," the release states.

Derouen's pants had also fallen down in the back of the patrol unit.

Sherriff's deputies removed Derouen from the unit and placed him on the ground to be examined by EMS. While on the ground, as his pants continued to fall, officials then found a box inside his underwear that contained about two grams of methamphetamine.

Derouen was charged, and later found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a controlled substance.

At the sentencing phase of the trial, officials listed Derouen's nearly 30-year criminal history, whichincluded multiple burglary convictions and more than a decades worth of prison and jail sentences.

He was also convicted of misdemeanor assault from striking a man with a sword in 2003, and took a plea deal for criminally negligent homicide after hitting and killing a man with a vehicle in 2004.

He also had a previous drug conviction for possession of meth.

The release states, following a 25-minute deliberation, the jury sentenced Derouen to life in prison for the aggravated assault charge, and 50 years for possession of a controlled substance. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Digital Content Producer Frank Cardenas contributed to this story.

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