updated 11/1/2006 1:55:30 PM ET 2006-11-01T18:55:30

A Hurricane Katrina evacuee convicted of setting fire to his government-funded apartment was sentenced to five years to life in prison.

Herbert Landry apologized during his sentencing hearing Tuesday but he said he was innocent.

“I want to put this behind me and go back to my family,” he said. His wife and children are living in Texas.

Landry, a Louisiana native, had received an eviction notice to have his possessions removed from the apartment by Feb. 26, the day of the fire, prosecutors said. Investigators said a burn pattern on the apartment floor indicated an ignitable liquid had been poured there and set ablaze.

The 46-year-old was found guilty in August of first-degree aggravated arson.

Landry didn’t dispute that alcohol had spilled, but he said it wasn’t intentional and had happened during a going-away party. He said he was watching television at a motel the next day when he learned about the fire.

Landry had fled Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. Rent for the Utah apartment had been paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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