I-Team: Preston Bonnett Trial Begins


(WBRE/WYOU-TV)    Opening statements in the homicide case of a man accused of starting a fire that killed three boys.

  Investigators say 28-year-old Preston Bonnett started that fire in a Laflin home in 20-17.

 Prosecutors say they will prove without any doubt that Preston Bonnett set the fire in Laflin on the evening of October 25th of 2017.

Bonnett and Susan Major has been involved in a relationship that ended earlier in the year. 16-year-old Erik Dupree, 12-year-old Devon Major and 7-year-old Ezekiel Major were killed in the fire.   

In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Tom Hogans that Bonnett was very angry at the boy’s mother, Susan Major because she kicked him out of her house in June. Prosecutors say Erik Dupree called 911 that night and said he saw Bonnett on a security camera standing on the back porch of the home on Oakwood Drive in Laflin.

 A few minutes later the home was on fire.

But Defense Attorney Bernard Brown told the jury they will prove that Bonnett did not start the fire.

That the timeline does not add up. He said the fire could have been electrical in nature.


(WBRE/WYOU-TV)    It was an emotional Wednesday inside a Luzerne County Courtroom during day one of the arson-triple murder trial for Preston Bonnett. 

          He’s accused of setting a house on fire– three young boys in that house died as a result of the fire.

      Lead I-Team Reporter and Mehalshick reports tonight from the courthouse..

Prosecutors say they will prove that Bonnett set the fire that night in October of 2017 to get even with their mother, Susan Major, his ex-girlfriend. She kicked him out of the house earlier that year.

  October 25th, 2017…the Major home at 60 Oakwood Drive in Laflin burns. Three brothers are trapped inside… 16-year-old Erik Dupree, 12-year-old Devon Major, and 7-year-old Ezekiel Major. All died from smoke inhalation. Prosecutors say they will place Bonnett at the scene of the fire. And that Erik Dupree saw Bonnett on the back porch of the home.

 Assistant District Attorney Tom Hogans set the timeline of that fateful night.

 7:08 pm Preston Bonnett appears on the home’s security camera.

 7:09 pm. Erick Dupree calls 9-1-1- and says he’s “scared please hurry”

 7:12 pm Neighbors call 9-1-1 saying the house was on fire

 Hogans says neighbors heard a male voice inside the home screaming for help.

Prosecutors say Susan Major broke off a relationship with Preston Bonnett earlier in the year but allowed him and his new girlfriend to move in with the family in June.

She kicked them out after she discovered they were making fake credit cards in her basement but Defense Attorney Bernard Brown says there is no evidence that Bonnett set the fire.

“Yes Preston Bonnett was at the house that night, we don’t deny that. But there is no evidence whatsoever that he set the fire or got into the house. We will be talking about an electric baseboard heater.

The jury heard also the dramatic 9-1-1- call made by Erik Dupree….you could hear the fear in his voice. he saw Bonnett on the back porch of his house moments before the fire started.

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