New Haven Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Committing Arson That Killed Three in Fair Haven
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that HECTOR NATAL, also known as “Boom” and “Boom Boom,” 29, of New Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to life imprisonment. After a four-week trial, Natal was convicted of committing the March 2011 arson of a two-family house in the Fair Haven section of New Haven that caused the deaths of 41-year-old Wanda Roberson, her eight-year-old son Quayshaun Roberson and her 21-year-old niece Jaqueeta Roberson.
“Hector Natal set fire to his neighbors’ home knowing that two large families, which included older women and young children, were inside,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “This reckless act took the lives of three innocents, Wanda Roberson, her young son Quayshaun and her niece Jaqueeta, and the sentence imposed today will protect society from this defendant. I want to thank our law enforcement partners, particularly the New Haven Fire and Police Departments, the FBI and the Connecticut State Police, who expertly investigated this tremendously difficult case. We thank them for ensuring justice for all of the victims of this horrible crime, none of whom will ever fully recover from such an unimaginable loss.”
“Mr. Natal gave no thought to the lives he was endangering when he deliberately set the fire which killed three members of the Roberson family,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Patricia M. Ferrick. “While today’s sentencing cannot bring back those lives or lesson the pain of the Roberson loss, we hope that it will bring closure and healing for both the Roberson family and the Fair Haven community.”
On April 18, 2013, Natal and his father, Hector Morales were found guilty on all counts of an 11-count indictment. According to the evidence presented during trial, Natal was a New Haven drug dealer who sold cocaine, crack cocaine, pills and marijuana. Morales served as Natal’s driver, facilitating his sales of narcotics and collection of drug proceeds. Early on the morning of March 9, 2011, Natal set fire to 48-50 Wolcott Street in New Haven in retaliation for a customer’s failure to pay a small drug debt. Seventeen people, including three toddlers, two pregnant women and two grandmothers, were in the house at the time the fire was set. Natal and Morales lived close to the Wolcott house. After the fire was set, Morales drove Natal away from the scene in his blue van. Hearing reports that a blue van was seen leaving the scene, Morales painted his van black in an effort to obstruct the investigation of the fatal fire. Natal and Morales then schemed with other family members to testify falsely before the grand jury in an effort to prevent the grand jury from developing evidence regarding their complicity in the arson.
The evidence at trial also showed that, months before the fatal fire, Natal attempted to set a fire in the same Wolcott Street house.
Natal was found guilty of three counts of arson resulting in death, and one count of attempted arson. Natal and Morales were both convicted of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, conspiring to tamper with witnesses and witness tampering. Morales was found guilty on three counts of being an accessory after the fact to the arson, and one count of destruction and concealment of evidence.
Natal has been detained since his arrest on June 14, 2011.
On January 8, 2015, Morales was sentenced to 174 months of imprisonment.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Haven Police Department, the Connecticut State Police Major Crimes Unit, Office of the State Fire Marshal, the New Haven Fire Department—Office of Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson, with assistance and support from the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office.