Man gets 65 years for murder; set estranged wife on fire

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – “I can’t believe I did it.”

That was part of the statement made in court Friday by murder defendant Eddie Caldwell, who killed his estranged wife last year.

He didn’t use a gun or knife, but gasoline and a lighter to set her on fire.

55-year old Eddie Caldwell at his sentencing hearing told family of Lizzie Caldwell, “I’m so sorry. She was a good lady.” He went on to say, “I’m like a dead man walking.”

Caldwell figures to never get out of prison alive, after Allen County Judge Fran Gull sentenced him to 65 years for murder.

Family members clutched pictures of 68-year old Lizzie Caldwell as they left the courtroom.

But her niece chose to shower praise on prosecutors rather than talk much about her loved one.

“She was everything, but I just really want to say justice was done today. And I feel like today we have closure,” Shantel McLellan said.

September 12th of last year, city fire crews rushed to a single story ranch home on South Harrison that was on fire.

Minutes before they made the scene, Lizzie Caldwell ran across the street, to a neighbor’s place, totally naked, seeking help and gave a rundown of what happened.

“That Eddie, her husband, had thrown gasoline on her while she was sleeping and caught the house on fire, and Eddie was admitting, that’s what he did,” Vickie Maiden said at the time.

Lizzie Caldwell’s lungs were burned, leading to her torturous death 16 days later.

Judge Gull said, “It is astonishing to me that you could look at the woman you loved and do this, it’s beyond cruel.”

Caldwell has five previous felony convictions, including ones tied to domestic violence.

Eddie Caldwell, who violated a protective order before committing murder in this case, waived his right to appeal the sentence.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer

Follow Jeff on Twitter at JneumeyerNews
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