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By MATT BARNARD and NICOLE MARSHALL
A convicted sex offender burned to death when he set himself on fire as authorities served a warrant at his rural Tulsa County home Thursday.
Tulsa County sheriff’s deputies and state Pardon & Parole Board officers were sent to a house in the 14100 block of East Apache Street to contact _____, 47, Capt. John Bowman said.
After finding the house empty, the squad peered into a cargo van that sat in the cluttered yard about 3 p.m. _____, who was inside the van, reached out and slammed the door shut, Bowman said.
He then doused the van with gasoline and ignited it, Bowman said. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene.
Bowman said _____ had spent time in prison and had indicated that he would do anything to avoid capture.
“There are a lot of people that will do a lot of things to keep from going back to jail,” he said. “To use a flammable liquid to ignite where they are, I have not seen that before.”
Investigators from the Tulsa Fire Department searched through the charred van into the evening, working around piles of garbage that were scattered about the property on the northeastern edge of Tulsa County.
Bowman said that because of the volatile nature of the incident, firefighters didn’t immediately enter the van to douse the flames. There were concerns that _____ might have been armed, but no weapons were found after a preliminary search.
- Oh come on! If this were anybody else, the firemen would've jumped right in and did everything possible to put out the fire, but because it was a sex offender, you let him burn!
About 30 minutes after _____ set the vehicle ablaze, authorities entered it and discovered his body in the cab, Bowman said.
The deputies had intended to serve three protective orders on _____, and the parole officers were sent to revoke his suspended sentence for a Muskogee County conviction, Bowman said.
A relative of _____’ gave officials a key to the house, and two of his siblings were in the area as the van burned, Bowman said.
_____ was the subject of protective orders in both Tulsa and Rogers counties, court records indicate. He also had been convicted of showing obscene material to a child, lewd molestation and making lewd proposals to a child.
"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." - Martin Luther King (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)