Ex-handyman sentenced to 195 years in prison for explosion of Denver apartment building


DENVER — The former handyman convicted of arson in the explosion of a Denver apartment building in 2018 was sentenced to 195 years in prison, officials announced Friday.

Todd Norman Perkins, 57, was convicted in January on five counts of attempted first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted first-degree assault, one count of first-degree arson, two counts of burglary and one count of first-degree assault, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

“This lengthy sentence is wholly appropriate given that Todd Norman Perkins was calculating and callous in his intent to inflict the maximum harm on his victims,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statment. “He is a danger to the broader Denver community and we are all better off with him behind bars.”

Nine people, including Perkins, were injured in the Aug. 14, 2018, explosion at 4th Avenue and Santa Fe Drive.

Perkins lived in a camper on the property but had been fired by the owner of the apartments because of prior situations involving the owner and tenants.

Perkins spent weeks in the hospital, recovering from the explosion, and was arrested in February 2019. After his arrest, Denver Fire Department Capt. Greg Pixley said there seemed to be a “great deal of premeditation” involved in the explosion, saying that fire investigators found three natural gas lines in the basement of the building had been forced open and that gasoline cans had been poured out and set close to the flashpoint of the fire.

Dogs and investigators also found remnants of gasoline on Perkins’ clothes while he was at the hospital, Pixley said. He said that Perkins had been in a confrontation with the building’s owner and possibly several other tenants.