Illinois Landlord Convicted in Fire Deaths

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Illinois fire protection contractorChicago, IL -- A suburban Chicago landlord has been found guilty in a 2010 Valentine's Day fire that killed 7 people.  Prosecuters found him guilty of setting the fire for insurance money.

Lawrence Meyers, the 64-year old landlord, was found guilty of 7 counts of first degree murder.  The victims were Byron Reed, 20, Sallie Gist, 18, and their children 3 year old Rayshawn Reed and 3 day old Brian Reed.  Additional victims were Gist's 16-year old twin siblings, Elijah and Elisha, and a family friend Tiera Davidson, 18.  Three firefighters were also injured while fighting the fire.

Meyers hired his building manager to start the fire for $250,000 in insurance money.

Investigators said that the building manager set the fire on the back porch, and it spread quickly.  It reached the roof, causing it to collapse.  This spread the fire to the second floor attic where the victims were sleeping.  Tenants testified that they could hear the victims screaming when they became trapped in the fire.

The victims died of smoke inhalation.

Meyers has been sentenced to a life sentence.