I-Team: Defense Rests in Bonnett Trial


(WBRE/WYOU-TV)   Defense rests in arson triple murder trial of Preston Bonnett. Closing arguments will begin Tuesday Morning in Luzerne County Court.

  The jury could get the case by noon Tuesday.   The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick has our story.

Luzerne County prosecutors say the fire that killed three young brothers– 16-year-old Erik Dupree, 12-year-old Devon Major and 7-year-old Ezekiel Major on the night of October 25th was set by, Preston Bonnett.

     They say Bonnett was trying to get back at their mother, Susan Major, who kicked him out of the home in June of that same year.

      Prosecution fire experts testified that a flame source in the family room was the cause of the fire and that sources was deliberately set by Bonnett.

      But as the defense made its case to the jury, defense witness Frank Forese, an electrical engineer disagrees. He told the jury

 ‘I don’t agree that it wasn’t electrical. I could not rule out the heater as the cause of the fire.”

 Forese examined an electric baseboard heater in the family room at the front of the house and told the jury.

“I cannot rule out that wires, heater wires, arced and melted down causing combustible materials near the heater to ignite.”

Forese says in his opinion, there is simply not enough evidence to say this deadly fire was arson.

The prosecution and defense attorney will give their closing arguments at 8:30 Tuesday morning. Then the judge will instruct the jury in the law. The jury could begin deliberation by noon.

 If convicted Bonnet faces life in prison. He did not testify in the trial.

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