Fire set to home

Paul A Meissner Jr.

Case Conclusion Date:January 1, 2000

Practice Area:Criminal Defense

Outcome:Won

Description:Deborah Lyons, wife of the fallen minister, is released early from her probation for setting fire to a Tierra Verde home. By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE © St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000 LARGO -- Deborah Lyons expected a sea of media cameras on Thursday as a friend drove her to the courthouse. Upon her arrival, just one greeted her. The usual crowd of reporters was missing, too. It was then, Mrs. Lyons said, that she realized her long legal ordeal was really finished. "God has been good and gracious to me," said the wife of fallen Baptist leader Henry J. Lyons. "Finally, it's over, isn't it?" For her, it is. Without fanfare or attention, a Pinellas circuit judge ordered an early end to the five years' probation Mrs. Lyons received for setting fire in 1997 to the $700,000 Tierra Verde home her husband bought with another woman. Mrs. Lyons, 52, who still had just over two years of probation to complete, smiled broadly as the judge made his decision. She clasped the hands of three friends sitting with her in court. Afterward, she hugged them all, and then she hugged her attorney, Paul Meissner. In the elevator ride to the courthouse lobby, she wiped tears from her eyes.