Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Bail was set at $5 million Thursday for a homeless man accused of setting a fire in a Kankakee apartment building last month that fatally injured two young brothers.

Alex A. Sawyer, 61, of Kankakee, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated arson in connection with the fire early in the morning on April 13 in the 800 block of West Station Street, west of the city’s downtown, officials said. Jushaun Watson, 2, and Justice Stewart, 4, died days later in hospitals in Cook County.

Five other building residents also were injured, and three firefighters were hurt extinguishing the fire, officials said. Twenty people were left homeless.

Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jamie Boyd, in a prepared statement, said he filed the formal charges but was awaiting a report from the Cook County medical examiner’s office confirming the specific cause of death. Preliminary reports showed the victims had no burns on their body, Boyd said. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said the cause and manner of death are pending.

Boyd said preliminary reports from the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s office and investigations conducted by the Kankakee City Fire Department concluded that a futon in a stairwell had been set on fire.

Boyd cited reports that said Sawyer, who previously lived in the building, admitted to having a disagreement with the building’s owner and being inside on the date of the fire and starting the fire.

On Tuesday, Kankakee police arrested Sawyer, who was already incarcerated on unrelated misdemeanor charges.


thanks Dan

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