Arsonist not guilty of intentionally endangering life
Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 5:53PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2012 7:04PM EDT
A judge has decided Kevin Slack, who has admitted to setting a fire in his Lancaster Street apartment, is not guilty of arson endangering life.
The Kitchener man has maintained he was just trying to kill himself, not hurt anyone else when he set fire to his apartment.
Slack had already been found guilty of arson, a decision which was agreed to by both the Crown and defence attorneys.
But on Thursday the judge decided the Crown did not prove that Slack had shown reckless disregard for others and that his testimony was credible.
“It’s been the truth since the beginning,” Slack says, “my intention was only to end my own miserable life, not to harm anyone else and I’m glad that was seen by the Crown and the courts.”
At the time of the arson in September 2010, Slack was still suffering after the loss of his wife to cancer and fighting depression and an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
He bought some lighter fluid, and believing no one else was in the building and that the fire wouldn’t spread, says he set the fire hoping the smoke would kill him.
The decision was not what the three people who had to be rescued from a balcony by firefighters wanted to hear. One of those people was Mike Herd.
Herd says “I mean, how can you live in an apartment and not know somebody else was in the building? No I wasn’t happy about it but I guess that’s the way the judge sees it.”
Herd also says he understands that Slack was having troubles at the time, and wishes him well on his road to recovery.
Slack has apologized, saying “I’m very sorry for the lives I negatively impacted with my actions, but I was sure in my heart of hearts at the time, if there was anyone there, people would be safe, no one else would be harmed.”
He says he’s now drug and alcohol free and continues to be remorseful.
Slack will be sentenced in September, and while the defence is calling for a conditional sentence between nine and 15 months, the Crown is asking for jail time in combination with measure like electronic monitoring.