Monsters Among Us: Cliff Douglas Parker set fire to Betty Roberts home after being asked to leave the home, she died later in the burn unit; Sentenced to life in prison

From Parker’s appeal: Officers Lindsey Stewart and Carson Bell were dispatched to a house fire. The officers could see the flames “all the way down the block.” They arrived before any other officers or firefighters. When they arrived at the scene, a woman screamed that someone was still inside the burning house. Stewart and Bell ran to the house. They saw Appellant standing on the porch, “nonchalantly” smoking a cigarette. The officers ignored Appellant and kicked the door open. As the officers entered the house, they saw an unconscious woman (Betty Roberts) lying face down on the floor.

As the officers attempted to remove Roberts from the burning house, Appellant came inside and put his hands on Stewart’s back, blocking her progress and causing her to drop Roberts. Stewart pushed Appellant and resumed her attempt to remove Roberts from the burning building. Again, Appellant blocked Stewart, causing her to drop Roberts a second time. Out of
concern for Bell’s, Roberts’s, and her own safety, Stewart pushed Appellant as hard as she could. He fell outside onto the porch. The officers were then able to remove Roberts from the house. Once outside, the officers tried to move Roberts to a safer location. Appellant straddled Roberts and held her against the ground, blocking the officers’ efforts. The officers grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him off of Roberts, and eventually they were able to move Roberts to the yard.

Stewart asked Appellant if anyone else remained in the house. He did not answer. Stewart demanded that Appellant tell her if anybody was still in the house. Finally, Appellant told her that someone was still in the back bedroom. As the officers prepared to re-enter the house, the fire department arrived. Stewart told them that someone was still in the house. The firemen entered the house and retrieved the second person.

Another officer brought Appellant to Officer James Minter. Because of the chaos of the still-active fire scene, Minter asked Appellant to wait in the back of his police cruiser, and Appellant complied. Minter testified that he did not place
Appellant under arrest. He did not handcuff Appellant; he did not tell Appellant that he was under arrest; he did not tell Appellant that he could not leave; and he would have allowed Appellant to leave had Appellant asked to do so.
About twenty-three minutes after Minter directed Appellant to wait in the police cruiser, Lieutenant Steve Larison of the Fort Worth Fire Department interviewed Appellant. In an attempt to learn details that might help his investigation and identify residents of the burning house, Larison talked to Appellant for about twenty minutes. At this point, Larison had yet to determine the cause of the fire. The cruiser’s video camera recorded the interview. After more investigation, Appellant was charged with arson.

Roberts later died from injuries she suffered during the fire. Appellant was then re-indicted for arson-based capital murder. The trial court determined that Appellant was not in custody when the interview occurred and that the video of
the interview was therefore admissible as a matter of law

Man sentenced to life for setting fire that killed Fort Worth widow
Arsonist Receives Life Sentence For Setting Fatal Fire
Man sentenced to life in prison for Fort Worth house fire that killed woman
Texas Arsonist Receives Life Sentence
Cliff Douglas Parker v State of Texas 2015 (conviction and sentence affirmed)

INMATE INFORMATION

SID Number: 05981646
TDCJ Number: 01913823
Name: PARKER,CLIFF DOUGLAS
Race: W
Gender: M
DOB: 1957-12-29
Maximum Sentence Date: LIFE SENTENCE
Current Facility: ALFRED HUGHES
Projected Release Date: LIFE SENTENCE
Parole Eligibility Date: 2041-09-19

One Response

  1. You can expect unpleasant consequences if you allow down-on-their-luck strangers into your home. There is a reason for their predicament and if they are unfamiliar to you, then that reason (s) will surface soon to your detriment.

    Like

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