A man found guilty of setting fire to his ex-girlfriend’s home had threatened to burn the house down because she had asked him to move out.
A Harrison County grand jury found Willie Soloman Robinson, 47, guilty of first-degree arson Thursday after a two-day trial.
Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced him as a habitual offender, ordering him to serve 15 years without eligibility for early release. Robinson has five prior felony convictions.
The woman had asked Robinson to move out of her home on 21st Street in Gulfport early on March 21, 2015, Assistant District Attorney Robert McCormick said. That’s when Robinson threatened her. A little later, the woman heard his voice outside her window and saw flames at her front and back doors.
The woman’s son came to the house and kept the flames under control until the Gulfport Fire Department arrived.
Police testified Robinson couldn’t be found immediately after the fire. But after it was put out, the woman’s son saw him walking toward the house carrying a gas can.
A firefighter who investigated the blaze testified the fire was started with gasoline at the front and back doors.
A defense attorney, in closing statements, argued the arrest was circumstantial because Robinson had the gasoline can for lawn work.
Robinson’s words, actions and the evidence proved his guilt, said McCormick, who prosecuted the case with ADA Jason Josef.
Police and firefighter teamwork and the woman’s perseverance led to the conviction, DA Joel Smith said in a written statement. “This combination helped to ensure that accountability and justice would take place for such a dangerous crime.”