BEAUFORT, SC (Aug. 23, 2022) – A Beaufort man has been sent to prison for lighting a paramour’s car on fire.
Anthony Dayon Best, 39, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of third-degree arson. His jury trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday morning following a day of jury selection and pretrial motions at the Beaufort County Courthouse.
Best was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He received 15 years for each arson charge. The sentences will be served concurrently.
“This defendant has displayed aggressive and escalating behaviors for a long time,” said Samantha Molina of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “Mr. Best is dangerous, and this conviction puts him exactly where he needs to be and ensures the safety of our community.”
Beaufort County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Hilton Head Gardens apartments after Best confronted the victim while she was in her car with her three children. Less than an hour later, while inside the apartment attempting to give her children a bath, the victim’s children noticed a gasoline smell. A surveillance camera captured a man approaching the woman’s front door and moments later coming back into view.
The camera then captures Best pouring a liquid onto the victim’s car and attempting to light it on fire with a cigarette. He tries multiple times, and when that fails, too, Best fishes paper towels from his pocket, lights them on fire and uses it to ignite the car. The victim’s vehicle was damaged, as was the car parked in the next space.
Best admitted to investigators he was upset by the women’s refusal to see him. The two had met on a dating app two months earlier.
Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen handed down Tuesday’s sentence.
Best’s criminal record includes convictions for second-degree burglary and assault with intent to commit first-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2000; second-degree burglary in 2001, in which he was sentenced to 12 years in prison; third-degree assault and battery in 2013; third-degree assault and battering in 2015; simple possession of marijuana in 2017; indecent exposure in 2017; and two sex-offender registry violations.
Assistant Solicitor Jared Shedd assisted with the prosecution.
Three indecent exposure charges against Best are still pending. Best is innocent of those charges until proven guilty in court.