COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A judge has sentenced an Idaho man to at least three years in prison after he admitted lighting his girlfriend on fire after a Valentine’s Day outing.

Dustin Hieronymus pleaded guilty to domestic battery as part of a plea agreement, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported .

Hieronymus, 38, was originally charged with aggravated battery, third-degree arson and felony domestic battery, which carry a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, authorities said. The plea agreement allowed defense attorneys to argue for a lesser sentence.

Hieronymus was on probation at the time of the attack after being convicted of aggravated assault in a 2015 case and had served part of his sentence, Judge Richard Christensen said. The girlfriend, 27, said Hieronymus has a mental illness and should not go to prison.

The woman suffered cuts and burns to her arms and face, and her hair was burned, police said.

“This is a very disturbing case,” Christensen said. “The sentence would have been lengthier had I not heard from the victim.”

Christensen said the latest charge reflected a pattern of violence.

“It’s a repeat of your previous behavior,” Christensen said.

Defense attorney Zachary Jones asked that Hieronymus be allowed a second chance at a prison rehabilitation program and be allowed to attend mental-health court.


Information from: Coeur d’Alene Press,