A Brooklyn teen is facing murder and arson charges for allegedly setting a fire in a Jamaica apartment building that led to the death of two men trapped inside.
Prosecutors announced that 17-year-old Kahj Woods, of Fountain Avenue, was arraigned on June 13 on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and first- and fourth-degree arson. Woods was remanded to custody and is due to return to court on July 16.
If convicted, Woods faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
“A teenager is accused of setting a fire that tragically killed two men last December,” said acting District Attorney John M. Ryan. “It is fortunate that no one else was injured or killed during this Sunday afternoon blaze that was allegedly intentionally set in a three-story, attached structure that houses a church on the ground floor and another next door. This was a horrible fire that should never have happened and the two men killed should still be alive.”
According to charges, at 3 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2018, Woods allegedly intentionally set a fire in the hallway on the ground floor of 95-32 150th St. in Jamaica. Woods’ great grandmother lives on the second floor of the building, but was not present at the time.
Woods’ great grandmother was the caretaker for David Hawkins, 64, who was severely disabled, and John Wigfall, 86, both of whom lived with her in the apartment. They were both home at the time of the blaze and were subsequently trapped in the apartment.
EMS responded to the scene and rushed the victims to Jamaica Hospital, where Hawkins was pronounced dead. Wigfall ultimately died of his injuries later that evening.