Man charged in death of Mass. firefighter wants charges dropped
The 22-year-old man wants a judge to drop the murder, arson and burglary charges
By Scott J. Croteau
WORCESTER, Mass. — The 22-year-old West Boylston man currently being held as he faces charges in connection with the Dec. 9, 2018 death of Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy wants a judge to drop the murder, arson and burglary charges.
Defense attorney Blake Rubin is arguing that evidence presented to a grand jury in the case suggests someone entered the basement of 5-7 Lowell St. and intentionally started several fires, but the evidence does not show that his client, Momoh Kamara, is the perpetrator.
Rubin contends, in a motion filed this week in Worcester Superior Court, that the grand jury heard scant, circumstantial evidence and no direct evidence showing Kamara was the person who set the blaze.
Prosecutors said detectives tracked Kamara’s movements around the Lowell Street area by utilizing surveillance video, which showed him entering Lowell Street around 2:30 a.m.
The surveillance cameras show Kamara leaving Lowell Street, near Main Street, within four or five minutes of police and fire arriving at the scene. Kamara then walked away and took a Lyft ride out of Worcester, investigators said.
Rubin argues that the surveillance videos and other evidence presented to the grand jury do not connect Kamara to the actual building when the fires took place just before 4 a.m.
Uber and Lyft records show Kamara obtained rides to and from the area around Lowell Street the day of the fire, but Rubin argues the records place his client in the area and not at the actual building.
“The surveillance video evidence does not place Mr. Kamara at 5-7 Lowell,” Rubin states in his motion.
The video shows Kamara walking from a location roughly one mile from the building but does not place him near or at the building, Rubin said.
Rubin questioned the grand jury’s decision to indict Kamara on second-degree murder. He argues the grand jury needed to have evidence of malice and that there was a “plain and strong likelihood” a firefighter would have died following the setting of the fire.
If anything, the evidence supported an indictment for involuntary manslaughter, but not second-degree murder, the defense lawyer said.
Kamara once lived at 5-7 Lowell St. but moved out several months before the fire. He is accused of damaging a car owned by one of his former roommates outside the building months before the fatal fire.
In his motion, Rubin said there was no evidence presented to the grand jury showing the perpetrator planned to harm or kill anyone in the fire.
Rubin contends the arson and armed burglary charges should also be dropped because the grand jury did not receive enough evidence to prove those crimes were committed and identify the person who set the fire.
Rubin filed a previous motion, which is still being reviewed by a judge, arguing that Kamara’s cell phone was illegally seized.
Roy was one of several firefighters who responded to the blaze in December. He was trapped on the second floor of the three-story building.
Roy died of smoke inhalation, his death certificate shows.
Search warrant affidavits filed in Worcester Central District Court in the case show firefighters discovered there was a plastic container in the basement of 5-7 Lowell St. next to a water heater that wasn’t in service.
“The water heater had a fire pattern consistent with a fire originating in the plastic container,” Worcester Detective George Adams wrote in the affidavit to search the three-story dwelling.
Prosecutors said Kamara set several fires inside the basement while residents were still inside the 100-year-old building. There were signs gasoline was used to start the fire, authorities said.
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