BRYAN – A Hearne man is sentenced to 8-years in prison for trying to burn down the home of his ex-wife’s boyfriend.
Robert Goethe, 43, pleaded guilty to arson charges in March and was sentenced Thursday.
Goethe and his wife Mona divorced in October 2010. After she moved in with her boyfriend, Steve McKay, she says Robert started threatening her. In March 2011, Mona went to the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office because Robert was sending her threatening text messages. One of them read “U Better not C him that’s going to push me over the edge and it could get very bad im serious now answer r u going to start c n him.”
About 2:30 the next morning, McKay’s neighbor called 911 to report seeing a man setting McKay’s mobile home on Starlight Drive in Bryan on fire. According to the probable cause statement, the wind blew out the fire several times. On the fourth try, the exterior wall of McKay’s bedroom caught fire and Robert drove off.
McKay’s nephew woke him up by yelling the house was on fire. Mona and her three kids were also inside. Everyone got out safely and McKay put out the fire with a water hose.
While talking to Brazos County deputies investigating the fire, Mona spotted Robert driving past the scene and shouted “there goes my ex-husband’s truck.” The truck matched the description of the truck given by McKay’s neighbor.
When stopped by deputies, Robert first said he was just riding around, but then told them he was checking to see if his ex-wife was at his friend’s house. Robert and McKay were friends before McKay and Mona started dating. Mona says Robert had been to the mobile home multiple times and knew where McKay’s bedroom was located.
After his arrest, deputies say Robert confessed. Robert said he and Mona had been having problems for a long time and that he found out she had been cheating on him with his best friend. He says he went to McKay’s home to beat him up. But when McKay would not come out, he set the mobile home on fire using gasoline and a lighter. Robert said he chose that side of the mobile home because he knew it was McKay’s bedroom. When asked why he returned five minutes later, Robert said he was going to put fire out.
“This case was about domestic violence and anger,” said Brazos County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Calvert. “Goethe did all he needed to do to kill six people. Anyone who resorts to violence to control a spouse will face harsh consequences.”