WICHITA, Kansas – A man accused of setting fire to a camper as his two young sons slept inside pleaded guilty to reduced murder charges, sparing him the death penalty.
One day into his retrial, Robert Fox admitted he caused the deaths of Chance Fox, 6, and Rowdy Fox, 4. The boys lived with their mother in Hooker, Okla., and were visiting their father in southwest Kansas when they died March 27, 2004.
Initially charged with capital murder and first-degree murder, Fox pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of reckless second-degree murder. He faces nine to 41 years in prison on each count.
Attorney General Phill Kline said the defense has agreed not to request a lesser sentence, and prosecutors will ask that the terms be served consecutively at a hearing to be set later this week.
Fox, 55, is accused of killed his sons because of a fight with their mother, Angie McCane, according to earlier testimony.
Claude Burns, the boys' maternal grandfather, was unhappy with the plea agreement. "I'd rather see [Fox] buried," Burns told The Hutchinson News.
Fox's first trial ended in a mistrial in February after prosecutors realized they did not have a report from a fire detective.
Prosecutors described Fox then as a man who was familiar with fire. A week before the deadly blaze, he had taken Chance to a fire station and asked for a tour.
But the defense portrayed him as an overmedicated man who mixed drugs with alcohol after finding out he had colon cancer. He was in the camper when it caught fire and escaped with burns.