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Man gets 10 years for burning home of ex-girlfriend's family

WALKER - A 23-year-old Akeley man was ordered to 10 years in prison for setting fire to an ex-girlfriend's family's home.

Ninth District Judge John Smith sentenced Brandon Todd Sannan earlier this month to six years in prison for attempted murder and an additional four years for arson, a news release from Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie states.

Sannan pleaded guilty April 30 to the crimes.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case:

At 12:16 a.m. Jan. 8, Timothy and Carla Voelke reported their home in Chickama Beach was on fire. Chickama Beach is near Pine River, which is about 30 miles south of Walker in Cass County.

Firefighters from Pine River arrived at the home to find it engulfed in flames.

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal determined the home was intentional set on fire.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office and Pine River police found the Voelkes and seven minor children, including six of their grandchildren, in the home at the time of the fire.

They nine people inside were able to escape the home, but the blaze destroyed it and its contents.

Court records state Voelkes' adult daughter, Whitney, had ended a relationship with Sannan, who became increasingly possessive and sent up to 100 text message per day to her.

In addition, investigators said Sannan repeatedly sent text message Jan. 7 to her and pleaded to continue the relationship. Eventually, some texts included threats to have the woman assaulted, and Sannan sent another text the following day to apologize.

Investigators said Sannan told officers he stole a lighter and gas can from the home and walked to the Voelke residence, where he poured gas on the corner of the home and lit it.