Alleged Junkie Hit With Murder Raps For Killing Four -- Including Two Kids -- In 2006 Arson Fire
After a six-year investigation, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office has charged an alleged heroin addict with murder for the 2006 arson fire deaths of four people in a Crown Heights apartment building.
Samuel Martinez, 38, has been hit with eight counts of second-degree manslaughter for allegedly starting the fatal blaze.
"A tragedy like this cannot and will not be forgotten nor can a crime like this go unpunished," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes says. "This is the culmination of an exhaustive six-year investigation led by FDNY Bureau of Fire Investigation, the New York Police Department and my office, into a horrific fire that claimed the lives of four people, including a mother and her two young children."
According to the indictment, about 5 a.m. on February 24, 2006, Martinez started a fire in the four-story apartment building at 1033 Pacific Street in Crown Heights. Martinez, authorities say, was in the building to buy heroin from one its tenants.
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The fire quickly spread to the upper floors, where 23-year-old Sherri Williams lived. To escape the inferno, Williams jumped out the window and was killed when her spine "shattered."
One floor below, Kassoum Fofana, his wife Assita Coulibaly, their three-year-old daughter, Marian and one-year-old son, Mohamed, were trying to escape the blaze. Coulibaly and the girl became engulfed in flames as they attempted to flee into a hallway. They both were killed in the fire.
Fofana broke a window to escape the blaze and ended up hanging on to a brick ledge on the side of the building. He lost his grip and fell to the ground. He was rushed to a hospital and survived. His son was killed inside the apartment.
Martinez hasn't been hit with any additional charges because the statute of limitations has run out for several of the other alleged crimes tied to the fire.
If convicted, Martinez faces 25 years to life in prison for each count.
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