GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The man convicted of manslaughter after his wife and three children died in a house fire two years ago learned his punishment Thursday.
Robert Scales was found guilty in June of four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of his wife and three children. Due to his habitual offender status, Scales was sentenced to between 25 and 90 years behind bars.
During emotional statements made before his sentencing Thursday, it was clear the victims’ family members blame him for their deaths.
Wanedia Scales, 35, her son Xavier Woldeab, 15, and Robert Scales’ two sons, Robert Scales Junior, 14, and Elijah Scales, 10, all died of smoke inhalation February 2020 when their Grand Rapids house burned overnight.
Scales was at work, but authorities say an illegal junk fire he set jumped the more than 5 feet from the pit into the home.
Scales came under suspicion after court records revealed his wife had filed for a personal protection order against him, claiming he threatened to burn down their home and kill her and the boys.
That PPO was not introduced as evidence at trial.
Wanedia Scales’ mother spoke about her family’s loss.
“I’ll never be able to see my daughter again or my grandson. I’ll never get to hear, ‘nana, nana.’ He took that away from me,” the mother said during victim impact statements.
Before handing down his sentencing, the judge told Scales that his failure to take any responsibility for the fire and his lack of remorse was “spine chilling.”