Kellerton man sentenced for attempted murder and arson

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Ellis Earl Houk, 69, of Kellerton, was sentenced Sept. 19 to two consecutive sentences of 25 years each in relation to arson and attempt to commit murder convictions. Houk additionally received three 10 year sentences on convictions of burglary, first degree; criminal mischief, first degree and willful injury - causing serious injury from the same incident.

The 25 year sentences, ran concurrent with the 10 year sentences, will require Houk to spend a mandatory 35 years in custody, before he is eligible for parole. After completing the mandatory time, he would be 104.

On Aug. 3, a Taylor County jury found Houk guilty on charges of arson, first degree; attempted murder; willful injury - causing serious injury; burglary, first degree and criminal mischief, first degree.

On Nov. 20, 2022, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a house fire located at 1871 Orange Avenue in Bedford. The female occupant, Houk’s ex-wife, exited the home and was treated by Taylor County EMS prior to being airlifted to a burn center for treatment of serious injuries.

Sheriff’s deputies began an investigation into the origin of the fire, which led to the belief that it was arson and the charging of Houk for the fire. Houk was located in Texas, where he intended to cross the border in to Mexico. He was extradited back to Taylor County on a no-bond warrant.