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Gay Man Facing Long Prison Term In 'Hate Crime' Arson

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Gay Man Facing Long Prison Term In 'Hate Crime' Arson

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: December 2, 2006 12:01 am ET

(Lakeland, Florida) A Florida man who whose mobile home was destroyed by fire last year in what he claimed was a homophobic hate crime faces a long prison term for actually torching the home himself.

Paul Day and his partner Christopher Robertson returned home from shopping to find the trailer fully engulfed in flames.

When Lakeland firefighters arrived at the trailer in July 2005 they found the words "die fag" spray painted on front of the home and the structure fully enveloped in flames. (story)

Walking with police through the burned out mobile home the next day Christopher Michael Robertson said all the items of value had been stolen including a television set and laptop computer.

Investigators helped him fill out insurance claims and there was a huge outpouring of support from throughout the country as people sent money, and offers of housing and furniture.

But as investigators began probing the cause of the fire the probe led back to Robertson. Under questioning by police Robertson confessed.

Now he has pleaded guilty to arson, grand theft, making a fraudulent insurance claim, arson, burning to defraud and other charges.

The 24 year old said he needed money and set the fire to collect the insurance money. The items he reported stolen were actually in storage.

Robertson will be sentenced on January 18.

Police say Day had no part in the crimes and cooperated with investigators, investigators.

The fire occurred during a summer of arson attacks across the country attributed to homophobia.

Earlier the same month a gay club in Brownsville, Texas was gutted by arson. (story) The week before, fire destroyed the only gay club in Fayetteville, Arkansas in an arson attack. (story)

©365Gay.com 2006

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