Deadly Teens: Sarah Isabel “Cindy” White sets on fire the home of the Roberson family, killing 6; Sentenced to LWOP

remembering the victimsFrom Sarah White’s appeal:   Neighbors alerted the fire department on December 31, 1975, that a home located at 24 Sayre Drive, Greenwood, Indiana, was in flames. The defendant was seen coming from the rear of the home; she was hysterical, screaming, and was restrained from reentering the burning home. The residence was the dwelling house of Charles and Carol Roberson and their four minor children, Michael, Dale, Gary and Rita. All six of the Robersons perished in the fire. The coroner testified that each of them died from carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation. The defendant had been living with the Roberson family.

After an extensive investigation into the cause of the fire, it was determined that the fire had been deliberately set. Burn patterns found in the home showed that an accelerant such as gasoline had been used. The accelerant caused the rapid burning of the home as well as the intense heat generated. Experts testified that the occupants of the home had probably perished within a few minutes of the initial conflagration.

The defendant was burned only slightly. Her testimony was to the effect that she had awakened from her bed on the living room couch, seen the flames on the wall near the Christmas tree, alerted the family, and attempted to get the children out. The smoke was so thick, though, that she lost touch with the children; she exited through a small, rear bedroom window, thinking that the children and the family would be behind her.

Testimony elicited at trial revealed that the defendant had made a telephone call, on the night of the fire, to her sister-in-law. The defendant was inquiring about a fire, which had occurred two days earlier, at her grandmother’s home. The defendant was most interested in how the fire started and in whether her siblings (who were living with her grandmother) had received new clothes as a result of the fire. It was less than four hours after the defendant had inquired about the fire at her grandmother’s house that the Roberson home was in flames. The arson investigators stated unequivocally that the Roberson fire was not accidental. The Christmas tree was a flame-proof variety; tests within the courtroom demonstrated that the tree would melt before it would ignite. The wiring, the appliances, the gas lines, and the furnace of the Roberson home were all checked. The results demonstrated that the fire itself had damaged each system, rather than the system causing the fire.

Additional evidence was introduced. Nude and pornographic photographs of the nineteen-year-old defendant were found in Charles Roberson’s billfold. Love letters written by the defendant to Charles Roberson were also found. The pajamas worn by the defendant were shown to be made of a highly flammable material; yet they were not burned at all. Inconsistencies in the defendant’s recollection of the fire were demonstrated through the testimony of those to whom the defendant had told her story. The defendant had a history of emotional disturbance, especially since the death of her father, and had spent the year prior to moving in with the Robersons as a patient in LaRue Carter Hospital.

Victims
Charles Roberson, 45
Carole Roberson, 41
Michael, 7
Dale, 6
Gary, 5
Sissy, 4

Suicide fails
Sarah Isabel White v State of Indiana 1978
Sarah Isabel White v Indiana Parole Board 1999
Indianapolis Monthly: Inside Story

Movies/Documentaries
Deadly Women: Mad or Bad
Facing Evil: The Perfect Victim

INMATE INFORMATION

SarahWhite

SARAH I WHITE
DOC Number 0394
First Name SARAH
Middle Name I
Last Name WHITE
Suffix
Date of Birth 06/24/1957
Gender Female
Race White
Facility/Location Indiana Women’s Prison

Sentence Information
Date of Sentence 05/21/1976
Description MURDER
Term in Years / Months / Days LIFE
Type of Conviction M
Indiana Citation Code 35-42-1-1
Cause Number 8463
County of Conviction JOHNSON
Projected Release Date 00/00/0000

Sentence Information
Date of Sentence 05/21/1976
Description MURDER
Term in Years / Months / Days LIFE
Type of Conviction M
Indiana Citation Code 35-42-1-1
Cause Number 8463
County of Conviction JOHNSON
Projected Release Date 00/00/0000

Sentence Information
Date of Sentence 05/21/1976
Description MURDER
Term in Years / Months / Days LIFE
Type of Conviction M
Indiana Citation Code 35-42-1-1
Cause Number 8463
County of Conviction JOHNSON
Projected Release Date 00/00/0000

Sentence Information
Date of Sentence 05/21/1976
Description MURDER
Term in Years / Months / Days LIFE
Type of Conviction M
Indiana Citation Code 35-42-1-1
Cause Number 8463
County of Conviction JOHNSON
Projected Release Date 00/00/0000

Sentence Information
Date of Sentence 05/21/1976
Description MURDER
Term in Years / Months / Days LIFE
Type of Conviction M
Indiana Citation Code 35-42-1-1
Cause Number 8463
County of Conviction JOHNSON
Projected Release Date 00/00/0000

Sentence Information
Date of Sentence 05/21/1976
Description MURDER
Term in Years / Months / Days LIFE
Type of Conviction M
Indiana Citation Code 35-42-1-1
Cause Number 8463
County of Conviction JOHNSON
Projected Release Date 00/00/0000

19 Responses

  1. Her father should go to jail

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  2. Her life was ruined because of her father & that weirdo couple

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  3. The biological parents and the foster parents should go to prison for abusing poor Cindy.

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  4. Her Father died in 1971 .. I know this because I am the baby of the family .. Cindy was my sister. My Daddy was a Good Honorable Man .. Cindy made Him out to be a monster .. I guess when one is sitting behind bar’s for 6 count’s of life in prison .. she will do n say anything to get out. Putting blame on My Father when he did nothing but.. be the best Daddy to us.. cindy had mental issues and was in n out of the hospital . May The Robertson Family Rest In Peace .

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    • I just saw a documentary with Cindy, and she stated she had a sister that visited her regularly in prison and their relationship was a positive one. Do you know anything about these claims?

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    • Ur daddy was an ‘honorable man’?? REALLY??
      What about ur mother that turned the other cheek, when Cindy told her of the abuse @ the hands of ur father!
      Cindy was then sent to LaRue Carter for 8 mos & released to a ‘foster’ family. I am sickened by the actions of Charles & Carole Roberson (not Robertson!) They did unspeakable things to ur older sister! Charles made her have sex w a DOG, while his friends watched & pleasured themselves! Carole was also involved w the torture of ur sister… Don’t always believe what u hear, look into the facts! I’m not saying her murdering the entire family is justified; however, u as the baby sister had NO IDEA what Cindy had been thru, starting @ the age of 9!

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    • I’m writing you in regards to your post regarding Cindy White just asking do you think there’s any possible way you may have not known the sexual abuse was going on with your sister and father sex offenders make sure other people don’t know and with you being so young it would be impossible for you to know the signs of child abuse almost all sex offenders come across as wonderful people other than that you wouldn’t allow your child be left with them if they did not, one thing that is undeniable there are photographs of your sister as a young girl naked who took them who was the person behind that camera snapping photos of her there definitely was sexual abuse happening to your sister.

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  5. This poor lady never got a fair shot from the day she was born. The courts need to see this so they can commute her sentence. Im sure she is punishing herself daily for the loss of them children & even her abusers.

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  6. i’ve seen this so many times. Sexual abuse of a child screws them up to some extent, sometimes very extensively, for the rest of their lives. It’s so unfair. These poor children don’t have a chance for a normal mentality and to feel safe from the time the abuse first occurs. The SOB’s that do this to these children need to be put away forever!!

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  7. Abuse of a child is so unique and devastating; unless you experienced it, then you can’t begin to understand the horror. This horror drastically affects one’s ability (especially a child) to think and make logical decisions. This woman has suffered royally—-to be forced to have sex with an animal is soul murdering. Free Cindy!!!!! She saw no way out.

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  8. One thing that is undeniable the fact that there were photographs of her naked as a young girl taken by??

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  9. My family my family was her second Foster family after all of that she raised me till I was 10 years old till they took her and she went to prison and I love her still I keep in contact with her still a lot of trauma does a lot of things to a lot of people I ain’t say anything’s right or wrong but just messes people up another people don’t realize it when they do it I love Cindy I will always love Cindy I am her baby girl and that is that

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    • I hope she is doing well since her release. It must be hard for her since society has changed so much.

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      • Hi
        Has Cindy been released??? We’ve been writing via email for ages and I’ve not heard from her gif months. I’m really worried about it but if she’s been released that would account for it. So you know where she us as I want to stay in touch?
        Thanks

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        • Margaret,

          Everything I see shows Cindy still in prison. I thought she was released, but I must have been wrong.

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          • Oh what a disappointment! A real travesty that she’s still I jail. I’m really concerned because I’ve not heard from her in months. Think I’ll contact the prison to check she’s ok.
            Many thanks
            Margaret

            Like

  10. She was 16, not 19, and had been sexually abused by the father. She also tried to save the family. Report the facts.

    Like

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