Man Given Life Sentence for Setting Deadly Apartment Fire

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A Huntsville man will serve a life prison sentence for the death of an elementary school teacher.

At a hearing yesterday, 46-year-old Henry Rice Junior admitted he started a fire at Hunter Ridge Apartments in August 2004 that killed 24-year-old April Collins. The victim's neighbor also was injured, but survived.

Rice was originally charged with capital murder, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of universal malice murder and first-degree arson.

Authorities contend Rice's motive was to collect 19-thousand dollars in insurance money. He had been scheduled to go on trial Monday.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)