Serial Arsonist Imprisoned for Connecticut Warehouse Fire

MILFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A Shelton man who once told police that the devil made him set fires has been sentenced to nine years in prison for his latest arson.

Jerry Walburn, 39, was sentenced Wednesday. Walburn pleaded guilty in September to second-degree arson for setting fire to an abandoned warehouse on June 20.

At the time, Walburn, had been on parole for another arson conviction for only three months.

``He's been essentially a serial arsonist in the Valley,'' State's Attorney Mary Galvin said.

Walburn has spent most of the last decade behind bars for a series of arsons, including a blaze at the former Samarius factory in downtown Shelton in July 1994.

In November 1996, Walburn was sentenced to 20 years in prison, suspended after eight years served, for several downtown arsons, including a 1995 fire that destroyed the Shelton Laundry building and an adjacent apartment building on Howe Avenue, leaving several families homeless.

Walburn has been officially labeled a pyromaniac by the state, a designation that means he has an uncontrollable urge to light fires.

Walburn also was given five years of probation and will have to get psychiatric, psychological and substance abuse evaluation and treatment.