Man gets life in deadly fire

October 7, 2009 4:15:24 AM PDT
The man who admitted he started the fire that killed his niece pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday. The fire happened near Lake Houston back in March. It was a scene that neighbors say changed their community. The house on Red Tailed Hawk is still unoccupied, seven months after the arson fire that killed the five-year-old girl. The man who set that fire could have faced the death penalty, but because of the family's wishes, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Anthony Miller gave a tearful victim impact statement Tuesday at the Harris County courthouse in the sentencing of his uncle, Tracy Bush.

"The week before this happened, we were always together. We had one little small argument the night before, but you had an argument with other people before that," said Miller. "For you to say that I'm the reason that Brastaya is gone, that just compiles the hurt and pain."

Bush pled guilty to capital murder for killing a young relative, Brastaya, in an arson of the family home on March 8.

Relatives say Bush set the fire because he was angry.

"Put yourself in that position," said Miller. "If it's someone who you love and depend on, and for something to happen, it puts you in a bad place."

The prosecutor in the case told Eyewitness News the entire family decided they didn't want Bush to face the death penalty.

"The defendant pleaded guilty to capital murder, which means life without parole," said prosecutor Terrence Windham. "He's never going to see this side of the prison bars again."

It's was Miller's wife, Katrina Miller, who ran back into the burning house to try to save the little girl.

"For her to go in the house, she came out feeling like a failure," said Miller. "I told her she was a hero, but she kept saying no because she couldn't get to her."

She didn't want to talk on camera, but Katrina Miller suffered third-degree burns trying to save the little girl. But Anthony Miller says the sentence is another loss.

"He's my uncle, my dad's brother," he said. "My dad died when I was 11. My uncle's not a perfect person, but as I stated, he taught me a lot of things."

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