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Jury deliberating fate of Preston Bonnett in Arson Triple Murder Trial

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A jury is deciding the fate of a man accused of starting a fire that killed three young brothers.

Prosecutors say Preston Bonnett torched a Laflin home in 2017. Defense Attorneys say he’s an innocent man. Both gave their closing arguments to the jury. It was their last opportunity to make their case.

The defense insists that Preston Bonnett did not start the fire that killed 16-year-old Erik Dupree, 12-year-old Devon Major, and 7-year-old Ezekiel Major. Attorney Bernard Brown told the jury that other possible causes of the fire have not been ruled out, including a short in an electrical baseboard heater or even careless smoking. He insists that even a prosecution fire expert says his best guess was that the fire was arson.

But Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce reminded the jury that Erik Dupree named his killer when he called 911 that night in October of 2017 when he said Preston Bonnett was on the back porch of the house. Minutes later the house was on fire.

Sanguedolce also told the jury to use their common sense. He said that an electrical heater that was in the house for decades just doesn’t malfunction, and there is no evidence of careless smoking starting the fire.

We’ll follow this story throughout the day.


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