Suspect in deadly boarding house fire faces Hawaii's stiffest penalty if convicted

James Moses
James Moses

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man suspected in a deadly boarding house fire in Liliha last month faces Hawaii's harshest punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole, if convicted.

Prosecutors are seeking the enhanced sentence because the decedent was over the age of 60.

An Oahu grand jury on Wednesday indicted James Moses on 12 charges -- second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, five counts of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree arson, and four drug counts. Circuit Judge Richard Perkins confirmed his bail at $500,000.

Prosecutors say Moses, 43, was evicted from the boarding house in late December, and later admitted to friends that he torched the place. The February 2nd blaze killed Clarence Isobe, 78, and left 22 people homeless.

The five counts of second-degree attempted murder are for the five people who were in the top level of the building closest to the flames.

Police arrested the suspect at a homeless camp in Kakaako last week. His arraignment date has not yet been set.

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