An Erie man charged with fatally stabbing another man and setting his body on fire, will now spend up to 60 years in prison.

After pleading guilty to third-degree murder and robbery, 36-year-old John Poole expressed remorse, as Erie County President Judge John Trucilla sentenced him 30 to 60 years in prison.

Poole admitted that he stabbed 42-year-old Robert McCarthy to death at the victim's East 9th Street apartment, last February.

Poole then robbed McCarthy of his wallet and a pill bottle and left the scene.

Prosecutors say Poole later returned to the crime scene and lit McCarthy's body on fire to cover up the crime.

"To be able to resolve this case in this fashion, where there is an appropriate punishment, the community is still protected, and the family does not have to relive in every detail of what happened, everybody benefits from that situation." said Erie County Assistant District Attorney Robert Marion.

Poole wept as he apologized to the victim's family, and said he was so messed up on drugs and alcohol that he only remembered bits and pieces of what happened.

"His apology, was one of the most heartfelt apologies I have ever heard in the courtroom,” said Poole’s lawyer Gene Placidi.  “I know it was sincere.  I think that was part of the reason he accepted the plea, and he wanted to get this behind the victim's family."

McCarthy's best friend and brother-in-law Michael Houston, says the family is satisfied with the sentence.

"Watching my wife and children go through everything they went through since the day that this happened has been…probably the hardest thing I've ever dealt with in my life,” said Houston.  "I am thankful that he spared my family the gruesome and horrific details of what he did, by not going through a trial.  So that, I do appreciate.”

But for McCarthy’s loved ones, the grieving process continues.

"Knowing Bobby and what a spirit he was, and how loving and giving he was, we were absolutely shocked that somebody would take his life,” said Houston.  “I figure it will take a long time for that to go away."

In exchange for his plea, a total of 15 other charges, including abuse of a corpse, were dropped.