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Lions Hall arsonist tells court to hurry up and sentence him

Kerry Robert Cooper, 30, of Kelowna is charged with arson in connection with the fire at the Westbank Lions Hall that did over a $1 million damage.
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July 03, 2014 - 1:23 PM

"IT'S RIDICULOUS. I PLED GUILTY."

KELOWNA – The man who pleaded guilty to burning the Westbank Lions Hall last September has opted to represent himself in court in an apparent effort to speed sentencing.

Kerry Robert Cooper, 30, appeared before a Justice of the Peace via video Thursday morning, saying he didn’t care what the psychiatric report says, he just wants to know how much time he will serve.

“I want to get this over and done with, please,” he said, before calling the delays "ridiculous" and asking the court to "hurry it up".

Crown prosecutor David Grabavac had no objections to Cooper’s decision to represent himself and a sentencing date was set for July 10.

Grabavac says Cooper pleaded guilty to one count of arson damaging property after seeing video footage of him buying gas, walking in the direction of the Hall while carrying the gas and then leaving the area without the gas.

“It is somewhat circumstantial,” Grabavac says, “but it’s as close to a slam dunk as you can get without being a slam dunk.”

Cooper's former girlfriend was a bridesmaid in a wedding scheduled at the Lions Hall the day it was severely damaged by fire. The bride, Amanda Nevdoff, says she believes Cooper set the fire out of spite because she had encouraged his ex-girlfriend to break up with him. She also says she and others in the neighbourhood have lived in fear of him for years.

Cooper also posted an InfoNews video of the fire on Facebook, writing ‘Mandy… dont worry karmas going to get u.'

Crown will likely seek a federal sentence of at least two years.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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