- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - A man who set a Gillette motel on fire with about 60 people inside has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The Gillette News Record reports (http://goo.gl/fbEfSj ) 59-year-old James Pearson, of Casper, was sentenced Thursday for the fire at the Rodeway Inn on Sept. 7, 2014. A jury convicted him in August of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated arson.

According to court documents, Pearson and a woman smoked methamphetamine together, and he wanted her to have sex with him in return. She refused and got away.

Investigators say he then came to the room where she was staying and told her friend “no one is going to walk away from this without being paid.”

The woman told investigators she later smelled smoke and discovered an intense fire in the hallway.

Several people were injured trying to escape.

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Information from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com

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