The man accused of torching a Fair Haven house to settle a drug debt, killing three people inside, appeared in court Thursday to answer charges that could land him in prison for life.
Hector Natal, who’s 23, appeared before Magistrate Judge Joan Margolis in U.S. District Court Thursday afternoon. A grand jury last week charged Natal and his father in connection to a March 9, 2011, arson at 48-50 Wolcott St. that killed 2nd-grader Quayshawn Roberson (pictured below), his mother, Wanda Roberson, and another relative.
Natal walked into court at 2:40 p.m. wearing a tan prison jumpsuit that revealed tattooed arms. Judge Margolis heard his case at 3 p.m.
Natal entered a not-guilty plea to seven charges, including conspiracy to sell drugs, attempted arson, arson causing death, witness tampering and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses, and destruction of evidence. Natal’s father, Hector Morales, was arraigned last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport.
The not-guilty plea is standard at this point in a criminal case; the defendant has the option of changing his plea later. Natal has confessed to starting the inferno, according to law enforcement officials.
Natal, whose street name is “Boom-Boom,” has been in jail on drug charges since last June. Margolis ordered him detained without bond. She set his next court date for Oct. 10, at which point jury selection would begin, unless Natal pleads guilty beforehand.
Defense attorney Paul Thomas declined comment at the end of the 10-minute hearing.
Several supporters showed up on Natal’s behalf. He pursed his lips in a kiss as he was led out the door in handcuffs.
“I love you!” called out a woman, who had been crying in court. She declined to give her name or comment to the media.