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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Haysville man Chris Newberry, Pleads Guilty to Raping, Burning Step-Daughter

By Rebecca Gannon and John Boyd

A Haysville, Kansas man has pleaded guilty to setting his step-daughter on fire. Chris Newberry also pleaded guilty to one count of rape and five counts of arson. Prosecutors added the new count of rape today.

Newberry was charged with one count of Attempted Murder in the fire in March of 2009. His 10-year-old step-daughter was badly burned in that fire. She is now recovering. Her grandmother said the girl now wants to be an Olympic runner...

...court documents say he sprayed her and her bed with lighter fluid as she slept, then lit her on fire in an attempt to kill her.

In court Wednesday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett said Newberry's four year old daughter watched the man douse her 10 year old half-sister with lighter fluid. "She described having been removed by the defendant," said Bennett, "and stepping back into the room, and watching him light her sister on fire."

...Newberry is set for sentencing late next month. He will be sentenced under Jessica's Law. It requires him to serve 25 years in prison before he's eligible for parole. He's agreed to spend the rest of his life on probation if he's ever released.

The girl's grandmother gives Newberry credit for admitting his guilt, and sparing the girl, and her half-sister, the pain of testifying in court. As she left the courthouse, she summarized what she was going to tell the 10 year old.

"I'm going to say he pled guilty to everything, you do not have to go through a trial," she said. "There will be sentencing in October. So that's it, he can never hurt you again."

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