EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSARSON SENTENCE
from Eyewitness News Online
Man Sentenced In Arson Which Lead To Firefighter's Death
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Aug. 28, 2012 6:43 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A man who set a fire that ultimately resulted in a firefighter's death learned his fate Tuesday. It was emotional in the courtroom as Charles Roberts' was sentenced to the maximum allowed under law, six years, for involuntary manslaughter, third degree arson and fourth degree arson.
The sentencing fell on what would have been Joey King's birthday. His loved ones and fellow fire fighters packed the Kanawha County Courthouse to push for justice.
"I will never be able to forgive him for what he's done to me," King's longtime girlfriend, Kay Carson told Judge Tod Kaufman.
Roberts has admitted to setting rail road ties on fire, an act that had grave consequences. King, a Davis Creek Volunteer Firefighter, was searching for the railroad fire when he fell from a bridge on Corridor G in December and died.
"That night our rock was taken away, there's nobody who can fill Joey's shoes," Arietta King, Joey's sister, says.
And while Arietta says her heart still breaks over the loss of her brother, she also showed compassion for Roberts. She says she once wanted him to serve a life sentence, but since he's owned up to his actions, she now wants him to make his life worthwhile.
"Charles, I wish you all the happiness," Arietta told Roberts during the sentencing. "Whatever the judge gives you, take all the classes, anything you can do at the prison to better your life when you get out and don't make a big mistake like you did." Roberts started crying as Arietta addressed him.
He has been in and out of jail over the years and says he was drinking the night he set the fire and never dreamed it would cause King's death. He told the family he was sorry and he has already started to change.
"I look back at all the things I've done and I'm ashamed of myself, I'm just looking for a normal life. I'm sorry," Roberts says.
And while Arietta says she wishes Roberts well, she also says she'll never forget.
"I forgive him but I'll never forget him, he's the one who took my brother from me," Arietta says.
Roberts testified against the sniper suspect Shawn Lester, after befriending him in jail. He did that before King died and remained a witness in protective custody after King's death. Judge Kaufman acknowledged Roberts' cooperation, but still imposed the maximum sentence.
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