The Richmond Register


February 12, 2013

Jury finds man guilty of misdemeanor arson attempt

Defendant is already parole-eligible


RICHMOND — Ex-girlfriend testifies

Melissa Bowling testified Tuesday in the second day of the trial. She said although she’d gotten a domestic violence order against Irvine in November 2011, she had allowed him to move back in her home in February.

The morning of April 17, Bowling was at work in Frankfort. Irvine called her in a rage, and after letting him vent for 30 minutes, she said she hung up on him because she had to get back to work.

Irvine called her repeatedly throughout the day and left 17 profane and verbally abusive messages on her cell phone. Three of the messages were played for the jury Tuesday from Bowling’s phone.

At 5:30 p.m., she called the Richmond Police Department and asked that officers perform a welfare check on Irvine. The officer who responded did not find anyone at the house.

Later that day, after talking to Irvine’s mother, Bowling called 911 and said she was concerned Irvine was going to hurt her when she returned home. Two officers went to the home, and upon opening the door, found Irvine standing in the threshold holding two knives in the air, according to the officers’ testimony.

“When he came out, it was like like a Tasmanian Devil with all the screaming and knives,” RPD Officer Lydia Douglas said during her testimony Tuesday. She was one of the two officers who responded to the 911 call.

Police officers attempted to talk Irvine out of the home. During that time, he could be seen dousing the home in gasoline and a commotion was heard from inside the house, Douglas said.

At one point, Irvine went to the window and asked police to shoot and kill him, she said.

After about an hour, Irvine came out of the house and peacefully surrendered. He was calm at that time and talked to police officers in a normal manner, Douglas said, stating he was “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

Irvine also told another responding officer, Zachary Harris, that he didn’t want to hurt anyone but that his plan was to kill himself, according to the arrest citation.

Bowling’s testimony got emotional near the end of her time on the stand when Barker presented two letters she had written to Irvine while he was in jail after the incident.

While choking back tears, Bowling said the reason she wrote him was to get what happened off her chest and to let him know that she forgave him.

“In no way did I say ‘I’m going to be here waiting on you,’” she said. “... I hope he does better, but not with me.”

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at or 624-6694.

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