NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A man convicted of retaliating for an unpaid drug debt by setting a fire that killed an 8-year-old boy and two women was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
Hector "Boom Boom" Natal, 29, of New Haven, learned his fate in federal court, where a jury convicted him in 2013 of arson resulting in death and attempted arson.
Federal prosecutors said Natal set fire in March 2011 to a multifamily home in New Haven occupied by 17 people, most of whom were sleeping, including three toddlers and two pregnant women. Three people died: 42-year-old Wanda Roberson, her 8-year-old son, Quayshawn, and her 21-year-old niece, Jaquetta Roberson.
"Mr. Natal gave no thought to the lives he was endangering," FBI Special Agent in Charge Patricia Ferrick said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Natal was a drug dealer who sold cocaine, crack cocaine, pills and marijuana. Authorities said he set the fire to retaliate against another person in the home who owed him a small drug debt. Natal also was convicted of attempting to torch the same home months before the fatal fire.
Natal's father, Hector Morales, was sentenced last month to 14 years in prison for serving as Natal's getaway driver.
Natal's public defenders had asked for leniency, saying Natal has an intellectual disability. They earlier had argued that there was no forensic evidence linking Natal to the fire and that there were problems with the eyewitness testimony that helped convict him.