Man arrested holding gas can near ex's burning house found guilt - - The News for South Mississippi

Man arrested holding gas can near ex's burning house found guilty

Willie Robinson (Photo source: Gulfport Police Dept.) Willie Robinson (Photo source: Gulfport Police Dept.)

When his ex told him to move out, prosecutors say Willie Robinson decided to not just leave but to also burn the house down.

This week a Harrison County jury found the 47-year-old Gulfport man guilty of First Degree Arson. Because he is a habitual offender, with five previous felony convictions, Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced Robinson to 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Prosecutors said Robinson intentionally set fire to a home on 21st Street in Gulfport during the early morning hours of March 21, 2015.

Less than an hour after the victim told him to move out, she heard Robinson's voice outside her window, then saw flames outside her doors. A fire investigator testified that someone poured gasoline across her front porch and around the back door.

The victim’s son was able to control the blaze until the Gulfport
Fire Department got there. After the fire crews left, the son spotted Robinson walking back toward the home with a can
of gasoline and decided to confront him. That's when Robinson said the woman deserved what happened to her. 

Officers quickly responded to the location of the fight and took Robinson into custody. 

Despite being picked up less than a block from the home carrying a near empty can of gasoline, the defense tried to argue that Robinson was not guilty because of a lack of evidence showing he started the fire. They said he was just carrying the can of gasoline to go do lawn work. 

"The perseverance of the victim and the professional investigative teamwork of the Gulfport Fire and Police Departments led to today’s conviction. This combination helped to ensure that
accountability and justice would take place for such a dangerous crime," said District Attorney Joel Smith. 

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