Two Bronx men were indicted Wednesday for murder and arson after they allegedly started a fire in 2018 that killed two people, including a teenager and critically injured his mother and sister.
“The defendants, who are brothers,allegedly started the fire in an apartment because they wanted to hurt two people inside,” said District Attorney Darcel Clark. “The fire traveled to the apartment above where a family lived, killinga14–year–old boy and a 42–year–old man. The boy’s mother and seven–year–old sister sustained terrible injuries, and two firefighters were also injured. We will seek justice for the innocent lives lost and for the individuals who suffered because of the defendants’ malicious actions.”
According to the investigation, brothers Charlie Garcia, 44, and Edward Garcia, 47, shared an apartment at 2381 Hoffman Street in Belmont. On March 5, 2018, they allegedly used ignitable liquid, disconnected the gas line from the stove and started a fire that rapidly accelerated. The defendants allegedly started the blaze and fled as two individuals who were staying in the apartment, Alyssa Cooke and Paul Montgomery, slept inside. The fire traveled to the apartment above where Evelyn Aponte, her 14–year–old son Jordan Conde, her 7–year–old daughter and her boyfriend Roberto Cortez were.
Jordan and Cortez died of smoke inhalation and sustained burn injuries. Aponte sustained third-degree burns on over half of her body and her daughter suffered third-degree burns to her feet, collapsed lungs and a burned throat due to smoke inhalation.
Both were hospitalized for months. Additionally, two firemen who responded to the scene sustained injuries. FDNY Firefighter Ryan Davis suffered second-degree burns to his legs and FDNY Lieutenant Daniel Bocian suffered a second-degree burn to his wrist as well as a hernia.
The brothers were charged with first–degree arson, two counts of second–degree murder, two counts of second degree attempted murder, arson, three counts of first–degree assault, two counts of first degree attempted assault and four counts of second–degree assault. Charlie Garcia was arraigned and is due back in court Sept. 9. Edward is awaiting arraignment.