Man, 61, charged with murder, arson in Kankakee fire

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KANKAKEE, Ill. — The Kankakee Fire Department says a 61-year-old man faces murder and arson charges for allegedly setting an apartment building fire that killed two young boys.

Fire officials said Tuesday that Alex Sawyer has been charged with two counts of murder and eight counts of aggravated arson.

Two-year-old Jushaun Watson and 4-year-old Justice Stewart both suffered severe burns in the blaze and died days later.

The fire started around 1:45 a.m. on April 13 in a rear stairwell of the building. Five other building residents also were injured, and three firefighters were hurt extinguishing the fire. Twenty people were left homeless.

Authorities say it was an act of revenge, but did not provide further details on the motive.

It wasn't clear whether Sawyer has an attorney.


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