Plea deal in roommate fire attack case - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Plea deal in roommate fire attack case

July 7, 2006

Albany -- An Albany man, convicted of dousing his roommate with a flammable liquid and setting him on fire, Friday agreed to a plea deal that sets him free.

 In Dougherty County court 31-year old Anthony Virga pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, though he still maintains his innocence.

Virga was given a 5 year sentence, settling for the 14 months he spent in the Dougherty County jail. He'll spend the rest of the time on probation.

Virga was found guilty in March 2005 of setting Patrick Carter on fire while he slept. In May 2006, Judge Willie Lockette granted Virga a new trial because of ineffective counsel.

Both Carter and Virga agreed to the plea deal saying they did not want to go through another trial. Carter said he still has physical and emotional scars from the fire, but wanted to move on with his life.  Carter said " It's bitter sweet. An innocent man does not plead guilty. So he's guilty as far as I'm concerned. "

Carter said he still has no idea why Virga attacked him.

Virga's family hugged him in the courtroom after the plea sentence. He was released from the Dougherty County jail about two hours later.  

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