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Boyfriend faces charges in east Las Vegas fire that killed woman, dogs

While her family mourns, a man is behind bars in Carson City, connected to a fire in Las Vegas that killed his girlfriend.
Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 9:03 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - While her family mourns, a man is behind bars in Carson City, connected to a fire in Las Vegas that killed his girlfriend.

Melynda Williams mom bought their east valley mobile home about 15 years ago. Williams, her brother and two other roommates all lived here.

So did her boyfriend Shyhele Coleman, who is now accused of attempting to kill every one inside on Nov. 10.

Phyllis Bown has six children. She proudly wears a ring with all of their names wrapped around the birthstones. Williams, 35, was her second oldest.

“I never thought I would lose one of my kids, because I always have my kids,” Bown said. The idea of losing the bright light in the family still hasn’t completely sunk in.

“For a long time, we called ourselves the dynamic duo,” said Samuel Bown, the victim’s brother.

What happened that afternoon is seared into his mind, he said. He was in the house when it caught fire and calls it worse than nightmares he had.

“I heard something blow up and it was loud, shook the entire house, and by the time I opened my door, you could smell the smoke, and when I opened the door, just thick pitch black smoke,” Samuel Bown said.

The explosion started in the master bedroom with Williams inside. Video neighbors shared showed Samuel Bown leaping away from the home.

“It was all too late it took a matter of minutes,” he said.

Police accuse Coleman of setting the house on fire and driving away in Williams’ car. He was found with that car in Carson City on Tuesday.

He is the unnamed person Lt. Ray Spencer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told media last week they were looking for.

“Until the coroner gives us a determination on the actual cause of death, we’re not going to move forward on any additional charges, but that is still a very active part of the investigation,” Spencer said.

Three of their dogs died in the fire, including Samson.

“We know she suffered, regardless, we just hope she didn’t have to suffer the fire also,” said Williams’ sister Leslie Hegner.

The family said Williams had dated Coleman off and on for four years following her late husband’s death in 2017.

“From the inside looking out, she saw it as perfect. It was the best thing that ever happened to her, but the outside looking in, we saw the truth it was one-sided, it was abusive, it was not good from the very get-go,” said Samuel Bown.

“I can tell you she’s not the first woman that was abused by him, I know of at least two others,” said Leslie Hegner. “I never could have guessed he would take her life ... How dare you take someone from us who did nothing but love you, help you, support you, you took the kindest person away from us.”

Coleman is currently being charged on one count of first-degree arson, three counts of attempted murder, and three counts of willful killing of an animal.

The three victims in the attempted murder charges include Samuel Bown and the two other roommates inside at the time.

Coleman was arrested Tuesday in Carson City.