Fri, Sep 30, 2022 11:35 AM
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A former tenant charged with setting a fire at a Massachusetts apartment building that claimed the lives of four people pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Friday and was held without bail.
Yvonne Ngoiri, 36, faces four counts of second-degree murder as well as arson and assault charges in connection with the May 14 blaze in Worcester. Among the victims was a man who in 2018 had sued right-wing radio host Alex Jones ' Infowars website.
Ngoiri, who once lived in the building, was taken into custody on Thursday, the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said in a statement.
A telephone message seeking comment was left with the suspect's attorney.
The cause of the fire at the three-story, six-unit building in the early morning hours of May 14 was determined to be “incendiary," according to the district attorney's office, but no motive was disclosed in court. She is scheduled back in court Nov. 29.
The victims have previously been identified as Joseph Garchali, 47; Christopher Lozeau, 53; Vincent Page, 41; and Marcel Fontaine, 29.
“The cause of their deaths involved smoke inhalation and thermal injuries," the district attorney's statement said.
In addition, several residents were injured, including one who jumped from a third-story window and two who suffered from smoke inhalation. The building had about 20 tenants. Two nearby buildings were also damaged.
Fontaine sued Infowars in Texas in 2018. The complaint, seeking unspecified damages, said Infowars posted his photograph on its website the day of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, depicting him as the gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died.
Lawyers for Infowars countered that Fontaine failed to show any evidence of malice or any injury because of his photo’s publication.
Fontaine’s lawyer has said that the case will continue on behalf of his estate. That case is pending, according to Texas court records.