Three men and two women were killed in an abandoned building that was consumed by a blaze deliberately caused by a homeless man on Monday night.
On Wednesday, a 21 year old male, Johnny Sanchez, was charged with five counts of capital murder on account of five dead people.
Approximately 150 firefighters were on duty to extinguish the fire in a 14,351 square-foot building that was once located near MacArthur Park. The previously abandoned acupuncture clinic was surrounded by strip malls and an apartment that is owned by Westlake District.
According to a fire department official, fire officials were worried about the vacant structure, which no longer had working fire sprinklers, and the site was noted as a potential fire hazard.
It wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon, when rescue dogs found four out of the five bodies badly scorched. Two were identified as Jerry Dean Clemons, 55, and Marry Anne Davis, 44. They have yet to identify the other victims.
Los Angeles police Lt. William Hayes said, “It was a dispute between Sanchez and other individuals that were residing in the building that was the case of him ultimately lighting the fire.”
Police say that Sanchez holds a criminal record including drugs and domestic violence. His set bail was one million dollars.
However, in an email, spokeswoman for the district attorney Jane Robison said that because it is likely to be a death penalty case, a request for Sanchez to be held without bail was approved by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gustavo Sztraicher.
As investigators dig in to find out more details the circumstances surrounding the incident, the case for Sanchez is currently postponed until July 27.