CHICAGO — Authorities say a man has died in custody while awaiting trial on murder charges in a 2016 Chicago apartment building fire that killed three children and an adult.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office chief policy officer Cara Smith tells the Chicago Tribune that 53-year-old Reginald Hester had been terminally ill and died at a hospital Tuesday night. Hester faced four counts of first-degree murder among other charges in connection with the blaze. Prosecutors have said Hester started the fire because he was angry after he gave a woman $10 for sex and she reneged on the deal.
The fire killed three children, ages 3 months, 4 and 7, along with a 56-year-old man. Firefighters couldn’t get inside because of intense flames and heavy smoke. Many residents were trapped in their apartments.