Arsonist admits to burning down West Kelowna Lion's Hall

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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KELOWNA – Kerry Robert Cooper pleaded guilty Thursday morning to burning down the West Kelowna Lion’s Hall.

Cooper, 30, entered the plea from North Fraser Pre-Trial, declining legal representation.

Crown prosecutor Dave Grabavac says Cooper admitted to the Sept. 1 arson 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.”

Looking impatient and occasionally interrupting Kelowna Provincial Court Judge Anne Wallace, Cooper appeared resigned to his fate.

"How long will all this take?" he asked. “I want to deal with this today and get my sentence on the go."

Cooper allegedly committed the arson out of spite after a bride who was set to be married at the hall encouraged Cooper's girlfriend to break up with him.

Wallace ordered a pre-sentence report as well as a psychiatric and psychological assessment ahead of Cooper’s next court date, which is expected to take place in Kelowna July 3.

Crown will 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.


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