Man charged for fire that killed his parents and sister in Logan Heights

Suspect, 26, insists he is not responsible for the deadly blaze

 

Last updated 10/22/2019 at 7:17pm



SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man accused of setting a fire that killed his parents and sister at the family's Logan Heights home was charged today with murder and arson causing great bodily injury.

Wilber Romero, 26, was booked into county jail Friday on suspicion of causing the deadly blaze that also injured two of his siblings earlier this month.

Police and prosecutors have not commented on a potential motive, nor what led them to identify Romero as the alleged perpetrator or how he's believed to have caused the blaze.

The fire in the 3100 block of Clay Avenue erupted shortly before 4:30 a.m. Oct. 13.

“Neighbors told 911 dispatchers a family lived in the home and (that) they could hear screaming inside,” SDPD Lt. Martha Sainz said.

Deputy District Attorney Rikole Santin said Romero's family members “frantically attempted to escape” the flames, but only Romero's 16-year-old brother, Angel, was able to evade serious injury by fleeing the home through a window. He's since been released from a hospital, while the defendant's 23-year-old sister, Wendy, was pulled from the home by good Samaritans and is currently recovering in a burn unit, Santin said.


The defendant's father, Jose Antonio Romero, 44, died in the charred residence. Romero's mother, Nicalasa “Nico” Maya-Romero, 46, died while en route to a hospital, while his 21-year-old sister, Iris Romero, died in a hospital several days later, Santin said.

Wilber Romero slipped out of a side door with the family dog and escaped the fire unharmed, according to the prosecutor.

In an interview with KGTV last week, Romero said he woke up to find his bed on fire and tried to save his family, but was forced to save himself.

He later denied any involvement with the fire, telling CBS8, “You can lock me up, but you're not going to take me in to say this, ‘I did it.’ I'm not going to say it because I know I didn't do it.''

Romero, who faces life imprisonment if convicted, pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday afternoon and is due back in court Nov. 18 for a status conference.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Brannigan set bail at $5 million bail at the prosecution's request.

 

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