2009-04-23 / Local & State

Jury Acquits Man In 2005 PA Fire That Killed Four

KITTANING, Pa. (AP) - A jury has acquitted a former volunteer firefighter of starting a duplex fire that killed a mother and her three children 3 1/2 years ago.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Friday, jurors found 54-year-old Frederick Anthony Robinson not quilty of arson and four counts of homicide. He was released from Armstrong County jail later that evening.

Prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty, alleging that Robinson set the Sept. 2, 2005 blaze that killed a longtime friend, 40-year-old Crystal Johnson, and her three children, who were 11, 5, and 2 years old.

Assistant district attorney Chase McClister said he was "very surprised and disappointed'' by the verdict.

Robinson said after his release that he was sorry for the victim's family.

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