Arson Suspect Says Companion Begged Him To Set Fire
A man accused of setting fire to his house says his female companion begged him to do it.
Fred Roberts, 65, is charged with attempted murder and arson for the fire at his Corinth home. Police say Roberts was picked up while walking away from the scene on the Hudson Road, carrying a duffel bag, after allegedly pouring gasoline around the first floor of the house and the stairs and setting the fire.
The BDN reports that Roberts told investigators he left a window open downstairs in hopes of creating a draft. He wanted the smoke to kill his girlfriend, Barbara King, while she slept in an upstairs bedroom. Instead, King awoke to the fire and jumped out the second story window, suffering a broken neck, fractured vertebrae, and broken ribs. He said he started the fire because King had asked him to, in hopes that she would perish in the fire. He said she had health problems and had told him she didn't want to go through another heart operation.
The 70-year-old woman survived but faces a long road to recovery. Her boyfriend is still incarcerated, unable to post a $200,000 cash bail. Police say he told the State Fire Marshal's Office investigators that he was his twin brother, Fred Robinson, and that he sometimes referred to himself in the third person. His attorney told the judge that he had been acting erratically in the days leading up to the fire.
He's due in court again in March. If convicted, Roberts faces up to 30 years in prison.