Bail set at $500K for suspect in fire that killed Mass. firefighter
An autopsy determined that Firefighter Christopher Roy, died from smoke inhalation and that the manner of death was homicide
Gary V. Murray
Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass.
WORCESTER — Bail was set at $500,000 Wednesday for the man accused of setting the December fire that claimed the life of Firefighter Christopher Roy.
Momoh Kamara, 22, had been held without bail since his March 15 arraignment in Worcester Superior Court on charges of second-degree murder, arson, and armed burglary in connection with a Dec. 9 fire at 7 Lowell St. in which Firefighter Roy, 36, was killed after being trapped on the second floor of the occupied three-story apartment building.
An autopsy determined that the Shrewsbury resident, a firefighter for 2½ years, died from smoke inhalation and that the manner of death was homicide.
Prosecutors said at the time of the arraignment that Mr. Kamara had been involved in a dispute with his former roommates at the Lowell Street address over property and that video surveillance and Uber, Lyft and bank records linked the suspect to the early-morning blaze.
Judge Janet Kenton-Walker set $500,000 cash bail for Mr. Kamara after a bail hearing Wednesday morning. She imposed conditions in the event bail is posted, including home confinement with GPS monitoring and time windows only for medical and legal appointments.
Mr. Kamara was further ordered as conditions of any release to undergo a mental health evaluation and any related treatment recommended by the Probation Department and to have no contact with witnesses in the case.
Citing what he described as the strength of the prosecution's case against the suspect, Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers had asked the judge to hold Mr. Kamara without bail or, if bail was to be set, to set it at $850,000 cash.
Mr. Kamara's lawyer, Blake J. Rubin, asked the judge to set $5,000 cash bail with house arrest and GPS monitoring.
In support of his assertion that Mr. Kamara was not a risk of flight, the defense lawyer said his client had been aware that he was under investigation in connection with the fire since December, but had remained at his mother's residence at 157 Hartwell St. in West Boylston, where he was arrested March 15.
If he were to be released on bail, Mr. Kamara would continue to live with his mother, who is trying to find a new home, Mr. Rubin told the judge.
In response to questions posed by Judge Kenton-Walker, Mr. Rubin said Mr. Kamara has a history of mental illness. He said his client was taking prescribed medications at the time of his arrest and had last seen a mental health professional four or five months earlier.
The defense lawyer also said the prosecution's case against Mr. Kamara was largely circumstantial as it related to the cause and origin of the fire and that there were a number of other potential suspects, including homeless and drug-addicted people who had broken into 7 Lowell St. around the time of the blaze.
Mr. Kamara is due back in court June 4.
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