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Virginia man sentenced in fire linked to pot buy gone bad

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VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) - A 20-year-old man is sentenced to spend up to eight years in prison on charges stemming from an arson fire that caused more than $1 million in damage to downtown Virginia.

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Tyler W. Erickson of Virginia was sentenced Monday to four years for first-degree arson and four years for first-degree burglary, which will run consecutively.

Judge Gary Pagliaccetti also sentenced him to 15 months for first-degree criminal damage to property, which will run concurrently with the other sentences.

The fire burned through downtown last November, destroying the apartments where 21 people lived and forcing five businesses to close. No one was seriously hurt.

In pleading guilty earlier this month, Erickson said he started the fire by lighting someone's coach on fire with lighter fluid after a marijuana deal went bad.

He apologized for the fire on Monday.

Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Karl Sundquist asked for a tough sentence, saying Erickson showed no regard for people could've been in the building he burned.

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