MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Some guys need a lesson in Romance 101. Threatening to kill your ex-girlfriend and setting her car on fire on Valentine's Day is not the way to win your lady love's heart. But it will win you a trip straight to 201 Poplar.
Janice Johnson learned the meaning of burning love the hard way. The 2003 Saturn she just bought is toast, burned to a crisp by an accused arsonist Johnson knows all too well.
Memphis Police charged her ex-boyfriend, J C Williams, with the crime. The police affidavit says Williams was angry because Johnson didn't buy him a Valentine's Day gift.
"I'm o.k.," she tells abc24, "I'm o.k. I thank God my family is o.k. I thank God I wasn't driving the vehicle. No one else was sitting in the car, and the kids got out of the house o.k."
Johnson says Williams called and threatened her around 1:30 that morning. A short time later, her father noticed a bright light through the window. He told investigators he looked outside, saw his daughter's car on fire in the driveway and Williams rushing away from the scene in his black Chrysler PT Cruiser.
The fire was so intense, the family feared the house would go up next. Janice says they climbed through a window to safety, her 3-month-old nephew cradled tightly in her arms.
When cops caught up with him, Memphis Police say Williams had a five gallon gas can and a pack of matches in his car. He was arrested and taken to the Shelby County Jail.
Janice's sister, Olivia, tells abc24.com Williams was obsessed with Janice from day one. The 20-something Janice and the 40-something Williams dated less than five months.
"You know," says Olivia, "he was threatening her, saying he was going to shoot her. But I guess since he couldn't get to her, he got the car first."
Olivia says Williams even called her sister from jail after his arrest. A not so sweet Valentine's Day, Janice Johnson doesn't ever want to repeat.
"I hope he does life in jail," she says. "I hope he never gets out of jail."
Williams spent Thursday night in jail, but was out Friday on a $40,000 bond.