Grand Rapids man convicted in fire deaths of wife, 3 sons

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Posted at 10:24 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 22:24:00-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Grand Rapids man blamed for a fire that killed his wife and three sons was found guilty Friday of four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The Kent County jury deliberated about an hour and a half before convicting 40-year-old Robert Scales.

Prosecutors said he used a fire pit too close to his family’s home.

Scales was at work at the time of the fire. He said the fire was out when he left for work, but investigators said they believe winds picked up and possibly sent a burning ember toward a mattress stacked next to the house.

The Feb. 4, 2020, fire killed 35-year-old Wanedia Scales and the couple's three sons, 15-year-old Xavier Woleab, 14-year-old Robert Scales Jr. and 10-year-old Elijah Scales.

Prosecutors said the fire pit was less than 6 feet from the house and that Scales had been burning trash and leaves there earlier that day.

Scales is due to be sentenced Aug. 25.