Defendant changhes plea
An Oconee jury had been picked to hear the arson case against a man in a wheelchair, but the defendant stopped his trial this morning by pleading guilty to two charges. For the crimes of arson third degree and throwing bodily fluids, Robert Clarence Walters was placed on home incarceration for five years. The 46-year old Westminster man admitted that he drank a quart of liquor last November 30 and set fire to a house full of cousins at Main and highway 24. Judge Lawton McIntosh was told those relatives had to be evacuated from the house. According to Deputy Solicitor David Wagner, Walters wheeled himself across the street to a convenience store and could be heard by others to say, “Let it (the house) burn.” Walters apologized and his attorney, Danny Day, said his client suffered blackouts in which he hated everyone. Other conditions of the home incarceration sentence are probationary periods and requirements that Walters allow himself to be evaluated and tested for substance abuse.