A 55-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for setting a house fire, which caused the death of a woman who befriended him and gave him a place to live, reports CBS Dallas.
Jurors convicted Cliff Douglas Parker of manslaughter last week for recklessly causing the death of Betty Roberts. She was the 67-year-old widow of a Fort Worth Police Officer. Roberts was known affectionately known as “Mom” by many neighbors.
On Wednesday — after jurors heard that Parker was a repeat offender who had a prior conviction for arson — they deliberated less than an hour before sentencing him to the maximum of life in prison.
During the trial, prosecutors Miles Brissette and Betty Arvin presented evidence that Roberts was a kind-hearted woman who took in stray pets and people who had fallen on hard times. In the fall of 2011, three adults — Parker, Freddie Thomas and Janice Covington — were living with Roberts in her west Fort Worth duplex.
On the afternoon of September 19, 2011, Parker — an admitted alcoholic — was drinking and arguing with Thomas and Covington. At one point before Roberts went to work at her job at Walmart, she asked Parker to leave in an effort to keep the peace in her home.
Parker left for awhile but returned later that night, which started a new round of drinking and arguing with Thomas and Covington. At some point, he threatened them, saying “I’m going to burn this mother —— house down.”
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