BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) – A man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trying to blow up his wife and daughter. Prosecutors said Gary L. Smith, 45, disconnected a natural gas line in the house and tied up his wife on May 2, 2008. She escaped with their daughter moments before the house exploded. Gary Smith was the only one hurt in the blast.
A St. Clair County jury convicted Smith in May of attempted first-degree murder and unlawful restraint. He suffered severe burns, but has recovered.
Circuit Judge John Baricevic said the nature of the crime required a substantial prison term. Smith must serve at least 8½ years, followed by 3 years probation.
Smith denied causing the explosion and said he will appeal. He claimed he had been asleep on the couch, woke up and lit a cigarette and the house exploded. He said he would not have stayed in the house if he intended it to explode.
But prosecutors said Smith intended to harm his wife and daughter by disconnecting the gas line. They said the couple had argued that day after Smith’s wife admitted having an affair. His wife managed to free herself after about six hours and fled with their daughter.
The Smiths have divorced.