WEBSTER — A classmate says a troubled 15-year-old boy charged with setting his home ablaze with gasoline had a tumultuous relationship with his adoptive father, who was killed along with two other sons.
A public defender was appointed Thursday to represent Michael Pilato a day after the high school sophomore was charged with murder and arson.
A gasoline fire early Wednesday in Webster killed Pilato’s 71-year-old father, Carmen, and brothers Peter, age 16, and 12-year-old Joshua. His mother and his 12-year-old sister escaped with injuries.
Sonny Mottler, who described himself as Pilato’s best friend since fourth grade, says Carmen Pilato often yelled at his children and occasionally smacked them.
He says he believes Michael “hated his father so much that he just wanted him gone.”