A Billings man who soaked himself and his common-law wife with gasoline and threatened her with a lighter was sentenced Friday in District Court.
Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Donnie Derrell Nolan to 10 years with the state Department of Corrections, with five years suspended, for felony criminal endangerment. Baugh imposed a concurrent six-month jail sentence for a misdemeanor: eluding a police officer.
Nolan, 36, pleaded guilty to the charges last month at the second day of his trial as prosecutors prepared to call the victim and the couple's 11-year-old twins to testify. A plea agreement was reached to avoid making the children testify against their father, the attorneys in the case said.
As part of the plea agreement, Deputy County Attorney Christopher Morris said he would agree to recommend a 10-year sentence with five years suspended. On Friday, Baugh said he would honor the agreement despite Nolan's criminal history, which includes six previous felony convictions and several misdemeanors.
Nolan spoke briefly before he was sentenced and apologized for his actions.
Nolan was arrested Aug. 8 after Billings police officers were called to Rays Lane about 8 p.m. on a domestic violence report. Sarah Lea Creech later told authorities that Nolan had squatted over her on a couch and held a container of gasoline over her head with one hand and a lighter in the other. Nolan than poured the gas on himself and Creech as the couple's children watched.
Nolan left the house with one of the children before police arrived. An officer later tried to stop his car, but Nolan refused to stop and led officers on a slow pursuit that ended back on Rays Lane, where he was arrested. The other child was later found safe with a relative.