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Arsonist who killed Cleveland neighbor sentenced to life

By CORY SHAFFER • Jul 18, 2017 at 2:00 PM

CLEVELAND (TNS) — The Cleveland man convicted of setting the fire that killed his 75-year-old neighbor was sentenced to life in prison Monday.

Charles H. Davenport Jr., who has been jailed since the day of the Nov. 5, 2015 fire that killed Roma Sparks, will be eligible for parole after spending nearly 30 years behind bars after Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John D. Sutula handed down his sentence Monday.

Sutula found Davenport guilty of aggravated murder, arson and other charges last month. Davenport waived his right to have a jury hear his case.

Davenport had been in a dispute with Sparks and told police that Sparks had pointed a gun at him earlier in the night, prosecutors say. Police could not corroborate that claim.

A drunken Davenport doused Sparks' front porch in gasoline about 5 a.m. and ignited the blaze with a lighter, prosecutors say.

Cleveland firefighters pulled Sparks from the house and rushed him to MetroHealth hospital, where he later died of smoke and soot inhalation.

Davenport has previous convictions for burglary, aggravated assault, domestic violence and drug possession, records say.

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