posted on December 20, 2011 19:35
In a sobbing, emotional statement in Genesee County Court on Tuesday, the LeRoy man who admitted burning his father’s house dow said he “needs help.”
43-year-old Paul Atkinson was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to Arson.
In court today, it was revealed that Atkinson, in a fit of rage and depression back in July, set himself on fire in his own bedroom at Orchard Drive, in an apparent suicide attempt.
Atkinson survived, but the fire destroyed his father’s home and injured his sister, Wendy Nelson.
In a statement to the court Wendy said, despite her injuries, she forgave Paul and asked for leniency in sentencing.
Outside the courtroom Wendy spoke with WBTA News:
"Paul was always a slow learner. He attempted suicide several times. He had cancer three times, but fought through it believing their was a reason to live. He refused to admit to his alcoholism.Hopefully, he will now get the help he needs."
Judge Noonan said he empathized with Atkinson’s life problems, but couldn’t ignore the fact that the arson crime was, quote, “outrageous.”
Paul Atkinson will also serve 5-years on post release supervision.