The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Murder Charges In Cicero Fire

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Mar 5, 2010 3:20PM

The landlord and building manager of the Cicero building where seven people were killed in a Valentine's Day fire will each be charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated arson, officials announced last night. Three fire-fighters were also hurt battling the blaze. Cicero Town President Larry Dominick said via a statement, "I'm very angry about this. The lives of seven innocent people were taken so cruelly and with clear malice. This is a heinous crime." All seven people killed were under the age of 21: Byron Reed, 20, Sallie Gist, 19, their sons Rayshawn Reed, 3, and Brian Reed, 3 days old, Sallie's twin brother and sister, Elijah Gist and Elisha Gist, both 16, and family friend Tiera Davidson, 18.

The motive for the fire, according to the Tribune:

Lawrence Myers, the building's owner, instructed Marion Comier, who was also the building's maintenance man, to "take care of that building," Cicero Police Superintendent Lori Lelis said, adding that the owner was having trouble with Internal Revenue Service. She declined to elaborate on Myers' tax problems.

Officials believe there may have been as many as 40 people living in the five-unit building at the time of the fire though previous investigations had not turned up any evidence of over-crowding despite many complaints of "overcrowding, poor sanitation and improper upkeep of the property."