Washington man pleads guilty to killing mom, setting home on fire

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — A Washington man admitted to killing his mother and setting their home on fire to cover up his crime, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Herbert Heath Jr. pleaded guilty Friday and was sentenced to 29-37 years in prison.

Investigators responded to a fire at a mobile home on Cherry Run Road on August 16, 2014, where they found the home engulfed in flames and Mildred Heath, 66, face down in her bedroom.

Although she sustained extensive burns on her backside, an autopsy performed at ECU found Mildred Heath had six broken ribs and other bruising about her body, including injuries consistent with strangulation.

No evidence of soot was found in her lungs, indicating she died prior to the fire.

Herbert Heath later admitted to another inmate over a game of chess he killed his mother and set the fire to cover it up, according to Brad Shackelford, an investigator with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

Heath, 41, had prior convictions for simple assault, assault on a female, and two DWIs.

One of Herbert Heath’s brothers, Troy Heath, asked the judge to sentence the Herbert Heath to the maximum allowed under the plea.

“There will be no more apple pies on Sunday, or even a phone call to say I love you,“ Troy Heath said.

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