Man gets 25 years in third strike

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – A 66-year-old man who burned his son two decades ago to prevent his estranged wife from getting custody was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life in prison by a judge who called him the “kind of individual for whom the three strikes law was passed.” Charley Charles was re-sentenced in San Francisco Superior Court for possessing a gun after an appeals court said the judge erred in not applying the so-called “three strikes, you’re out” law to a pair of convictions in the fire that severely injured his son. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ming-Mei Lee cited Charles’ lengthy criminal record, which dates back to 1958 and includes multiple felony convictions in three states for robbery, forgery and weapon charges. “There really has been no substantial time period where the defendant has been law abiding,” Lee said. In 1983, Charles, then known as Charles Rothenberg, took his son to a Southern California motel room and gave the boy a sleeping pill. He then doused the room with kerosene and lit the fuel before leaving. At the time, he said he was distraught about losing the boy in a custody battle. The boy survived and Charles served seven years for attempted murder and arson. The relatively light sentence drew outrage and helped pave the way for stricter sentencing guidelines. At issue Wednesday was Charles’ 2005 conviction for being a felon in possession of a handgun and ammunition. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more