Virginia Man Gets 7 Years for Long-Distance Internet Squabble That Ended With Arson

A Virginia man enraged about a squabble that took place inside an Internet chat room with a Texas man exacted revenge by driving to the man’s home and setting it on fire, The Waco Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday.

Russell Tavares, described by officials as a clean-cut 25-year-old entrusted with “very high clearance” in missile and fire control in the U.S. Navy, took a leave of absence from work and drove to Elm Mott, Texas to settle a score with 59-year-old John Anderson, who allegedly called Tavares “a nerd” inside an chat room.

Tavares managed to burn down one end of Anderson’s mobile home before local firefighters were summoned to the scene, MeLennan County Assistant District Attorney J.R. Vicha told

Anderson, who owns the Museum of Horrors Haunted House along Interstate 35 in Elm Mott, was home at the time of the incident but not injured, Vicha added.

Tavares pleaded guilty to a felony arson charge Monday and was sentenced to seven years in a Texas jail.

He was also discharged from his military post, Vicha said.

Tavares, who was obsessed with fire, guns and knives, used the screen names “pyrodice” and “illpackapistol” to post pictures of him holding and pointing firearms at certain people, The Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

"I've worked plenty of arson cases, but never one as bizarre as this one," MeLennan County Assistant District Attorney Jason Darling told the newspaper. "Most are committed for money or getting back at somebody. This one, he blames on the computer."

Click here to read The Waco Tribune-Herald report.’s Leo D. Rommel contributed to this report.