The father of a convicted arsonist will spend more than 14 years in prison after driving his son from the scene of a fire in New Haven that killed three people in 2011, then trying to hide the evidence and lying to a federal grand jury, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Federal prosecutors said Hector Morales, 51, of New Haven, enabled his son’s drug dealing habits, driving him around the city to sell cocaine, crack cocaine, pills and marijuana.
Morales’ son, 29-year-old Hector Natal, set fire to a home in the city’s Fair Haven neighborhood in March 2011 “in retaliation for a customer’s failure to pay a small drug debt,” according to federal prosecutors.
Three people – a 41-year-old woman, her 8-year-old son and 21-year-old niece – were killed in the blaze. They were among 17 residents home when the house on Wolcott Street went up in flames, prosecutors said.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Morales drove his son from the scene, then painted his van black in an effort to hide his involvement in the crime. He also schemed with family members to lie to a federal grand jury and tell a story that would absolve Morales and Natal.
Both father and son were found guilty on 11 counts in April 2013. Morales, who has been in custody since July 2012, was sentenced Thursday to 14.5 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Natal is also currently behind bars and will be sentenced Feb. 10.
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