Prosecutor says Conn. man confessed to arson that killed 3 in 2011; defense attacks witnesses

Authorities say a Connecticut man confessed three times to setting a 2011 fire that killed three members of the same family and forced others to jump out windows.

Prosecutor Deirdre Daly told a federal jury in her opening statement Monday that witnesses will testify that Hector Natal admitted setting the fire in New Haven that killed 42-year-old Wanda Roberson, her 8-year-old son, Quayshawn, and 21-year-old niece, Jaquetta Roberson.

Natal is charged with arson resulting in death, witness tampering and conspiracy to distribute drugs. His father is charged with witness tampering and destruction of evidence.

Their attorneys say the case is based on unreliable witnesses.

Authorities say Natal set the fire in part as retaliation for failure to pay a drug debt involving someone who lived in another unit in the multifamily house.