Arsonist sentenced to more than 10 years in prison

Marshall Jay Lewis

Marshall Jay Lewis

PORT ANGELES — A Skagit County man who grew up on the West End was sentenced Tuesday to 10½ years in prison after the woman he victimized called him a psychopath, her mother said he was a cancer, and the judge said he committed an evil crime by setting fire to her Beaver-area home.

Forks High School graduate Marshall Jay Lewis, 38, who did not make a statement in court when given the chance, will file an appeal, said his lawyer, Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender.

Lewis, a former executive chef who worked in La Push, was found guilty April 3 of first-degree arson, residential burglary, cyberstalking and telephone harassment — all with domestic violence enhancements that increased his sentence — in connection with a fire he set at his former girlfriend’s Beaver-area home the morning of Jan. 1, 2016.

He sent her dozens of threatening text messages and voice mails on his way from his Sedro-Woolley home to her house in Beaver early New Year’s Day, 2016, according to court records.

On his way, he stopped off to hire a prostitute whom investigators said looked chillingly like the victim before he broke into her unoccupied home and set two fires, including one on her bed, according to court records.

Lewis, a sex offender with a third-degree rape conviction, still faces charges of intimidating a witness and felony harassment for allegedly trying to send the woman, who has two children, a threatening letter from the Clallam County jail after his conviction.

As the longest serving inmate in the jail, Lewis will get credit for more than two years served.

He remains in the jail following his Jan. 22, 2016, arrest, on $375,000 bail, according to the jail roster Tuesday afternoon.

Lewis will remain in the jail while awaiting a jury trial June 25 on charges of intimidating a witness and felony harassment for allegedly trying to send the victim a threatening letter while awaiting his sentencing.

The writer threatens to sexually assault and kill the woman, lists family members by name, says the woman “will soon lose one or two people extremely close to you,” and is signed with what appears to be a Nazi symbol.

In her 3½-page typed statement, the woman recalled how Lewis duped her with charm, false sympathy and lies about his past and being a born-again Christian.

He later became demeaning and threatening, she said, saying that escalated after she broke up with him ebcause she learned he was a registered sex offender.

She described returning to her home after he set fire to it.

The structure was still standing but beyond repair.

“I entered the home to find my children’s toys they had gotten as Christmas gifts laying blackened on the floor.

“Their Christmas stockings hung by the fireplace, my great-grandmother’s ornaments she gave me, my kids’ decorations they made in preschool, were black and ruined,” she said.

“By children’s bedrooms sat, frozen in time, with their little shoes, books, baby things, favorite stuffed animals, blackened and reeking of toxic soot,” she said.

“Marshall Lewis, you are a psychopath [who] cannot accept due responsibility for the heinous crimes you’ve committed against women,” the woman said in court, reading from a 1½-page typed-out statement while standing before Judge Brian Coughenour.

She faced away from Lewis, who sat at the defense table without appearing to evince emotion.

“You deserve the maximum sentence for the crimes that the judge and jury have found you guilty of, as well as the time you face for the letter that demonstrates what a manipulative, psychopathic career criminal you are,” the woman said.

“You robbed my children and me of our home, our belongings and at times my peace of mind and happiness.

“No more! Marshall Lewis, today I am not your victim. I am a survivor.”

The woman’s mother made a statement that mirrored her daughter’s, recalling that as a young adult the woman had cancer.

“This time, the cancer is not a disease, the cancer is Marshall Lewis,” the woman’s mother said. “He is an evil, deranged psychopath. What a terrible, terrible person.”

Gasnick said Lewis was abandoned by his mother at age 2 and was a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

He said Lewis maintained “friendly relations” with an ex-wife, who he was married to for 10 years, and was on antidepressant medication for several years for social anxiety and depression.

Gasnick said Lewis was “grossly intoxicated” at the time of the arson.

When he sentenced Lewis, Coughenour said Lewis’ intoxication could not explain his actions, which Coughenour said were shocking in substance and variety.

“You put her in a situation where she was clearly fearful for her own life and the life of her children, and you took away her possessions, you took away her and her children’s home and you did this over the Christmas vacation,” he said.

“If in fact you had a poor childhood, one would think you would have empathy for those who are weak and unprotected,” Coughenour said.

“This is evil.

“This is not a stupid crime, it is an evil crime.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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