White Plains, NY, January 7, 2011 – Rafael Roldan pleaded guilty today to murder and assault charges for setting a fire at 149 Waverly Place in Yonkers on October 2, 2009. This blaze resulted in serious injury to Firefighters Lt. Joe Murray and Firefighter William Kancyh and the death of Firefighter Patrick Joyce. Roldan’s plea brings with it a sentence of 20 years to life. He will be formally sentenced on April 12th.
According to Scott Tulman, Roldan’s defense attorney, Roldan had expressed remorse for his actions and is said to have wanted to spare the Joyce family the pain of sitting though the trial. Though admitting to having set the fire, Roldan maintained that he only set the fire to punish a cousin who had evicted him from her apartment fo non payment of rent. Jurors had been scheduled to hear that confession had the trial progressed.
As Roldan was led away from the courtroom in handcuffs, approximately sixty members of the Yonkers Fire Department formed a double line outside the courtroom. After family members passed through the line, Joyce’s widow Tara stopped to thank the firefighters for their support.