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Guilty Plea In Blaze That Killed NY Firefighter

Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A man accused of setting a blaze that killed a Yonkers firefighter has pleaded guilty to murder in the midst of his trial.

The Westchester County district attorney says 34-year-old Rafael Roldan of the Bronx admitted in court Friday to murder and assault. He is to be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Roldan’s trial–heavily attended by uniformed firefighters–began Thursday. If he’d been convicted after trial, he would have faced up to 25 years in prison.

A 39-year-old firefighter, Patrick Joyce, was killed battling the blaze. Two other firefighters were seriously injured.
Roldan’s lawyer said he was trying to burn his landlord’s clothes after being evicted and accidentally started the fire in the multifamily building.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)