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Man Charged in Fatal NY Blaze

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

July 16, 2010

QUEENS, NY – A 23-year-old Queens man was charged on Thursday with setting a fire that killed his pregnant girlfriend and her 2-year-old son, the authorities said.

The boyfriend, Jimmy Humphrey, was charged with arson and assault, said Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney.

The woman, Linda Anderson, 25, died early Tuesday, apparently in the fire at her home on Anderson Road in Springfield Gardens, Queens. Firefighters arrived to find the burned bodies of Ms. Anderson and her son, Ayden Hayes, sprawled on the second floor, where the fire was contained.

Ms. Anderson, who was pregnant with Mr. Humphrey’s child, was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy died a short time later at Queens Hospital Center.

From the start, investigators viewed the fire as suspicious. But it was only under questioning that Mr. Humphrey revealed he had played a role, the authorities said.

Mr. Humphrey admitted, they said, that just before the fire, he and Ms. Anderson had a fight, prompting him to grab her by the throat and shove her. As she fell, they said, she knocked over a bottle of nail polish remover and a candle, igniting the fire.

With the boy asleep in a bedroom and Ms. Anderson on fire, Mr. Humphrey then fled the apartment and lay in bed at his home a block away for some time before finally reporting the fire, Mr. Brown said.

“The senseless death of this young woman and her infant child cries out for justice,” he added.

Mr. Humphrey faces up to 25 years to life in prison. A lawyer for Mr. Humphrey could not be immediately reached for comment last night.

Mr. Brown said his office was awaiting a final autopsy report, and depending on the results, might file additional charges.