During the hearing, held in April 2011, several months before the incident that led to King's death, Roberts testified that he had befriended Lester in the regional jail, and that Lester had asked him how "lifers" were treated at the penitentiary.
Roberts said Lester admitted to him that he killed his three victims in retaliation for the theft of drugs from his Rutledge Road garage. The drugs belonged to a Mexican national named Gilberto "Tito" Lopez, who later was revealed to have operated a multimillion-dollar methamphetamine enterprise that stretched from Indiana to Kanawha County.
"I had respect for human life," Roberts told Kaufman during Tuesday's sentencing hearing, when Kaufman asked about his mindset during Lester's preliminary hearing. "When I found out what I found out, I felt I had to come forward."
Lester's sentencing is set for Friday before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.
Holstein said that while Roberts' testimony during the hearing helped prosecutors prove that their case had enough merit for a grand jury investigation, his assistance was not factored into his plea agreement in the death of King.
"From my perspective, it was not a part of this agreement, and he shouldn't get brownie points," Holstein said.
Roberts' lawyer, John Carr, said his client has been in 23-hour lockdown ever since he decided to cooperate in the sniper investigation.
Roberts said he had no expectation that someone would get killed the night he set the fire that initiated the chain reaction of tragic events.
"I know there's no 'sorry' can make up for what I did," he said, later adding, "It's opened my eyes to a lot of things."
Reach Zac Taylor at Zachary.Tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.