Minister's wife gets probation for setting fire
October 20, 1997
Web posted at: 7:44 p.m. EDT (2344 GMT)
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN) -- The wife of the leader of
the country's largest black religious group was sentenced to
five months' probation after pleading guilty to setting fire
to a home owned by her husband, the Rev. Henry Lyons, and a
female friend of his.
Deborah Lyons, 47, also was sentenced to 200 hours of
community service and ordered her to be evaluated for alcohol
and psychological treatment.
In meting out the sentence, Florida Circuit Court Judge
Douglas Baird said he was considering the fact that this was
the first offense for Lyons that she had said she was sorry,
and that she is in treatment for alcohol abuse.
Lyons said she had been drinking July 7, the day she set fire
to the house. The fire caused $30,000 in damage to the
Her arrest opened the door to allegations the preacher
misused church money, bought expensive cars, clothes and
jewelry for other women and cheated on his wife. Lyons is
president of the National Baptist Convention USA. He denies