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Arsonist pleads guilty

The man who set fire to the Lions Hall in West Kelowna has owned up to his crime.

Kerry Robert Cooper pled guilty to arson damaging property in the Sept 1, 2013 fire that caused about $1M damage to the almost century old building.

Crown Counsel media spokesman, Gord Comer, said Cooper entered the plea during a court appearance in Kelowna Thursday morning.

The judge has asked for both a psychiatric evaluation and pre-sentence report.

Both are expected to be ready when Cooper appears in court again July 3.

Comer says if those reports are ready, Cooper could be sentenced on that date.

Interestingly, Cooper, 30, who was arrested May 9, represented himself during the court process.

Cooper has spent the better part of the last 10 years on probation and has spent more than five months in jail for various offences dating back to 2003.

On April 1 of this year Cooper was placed on probation for Uttering Threats in November of last year.

"Obviously he's owning up to the fact he made a big mistake so that's good news," said Rick Hebner, past-president of the Westbank Lions.

"At least some sort of justice has been done."

Renovations continue in efforts to re-build the hall.

The Lions Hall is expected to re-open later this summer.


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