UPDATE: Charges filed in deadly Laflin fire


26-year-old Preston Bonnett faces charges including homicide and arson.

While walking with police Monday, Bonnett said he was innocent, insisting he did not start the fire at this home on Oakwood Drive.

"They need to do better police work and find who really did it. I'm innocent,” Bonnett said.

Bonnett says police have charged the wrong person.

Police say he's responsible for last Wednesday's deadly fire here on Oakwood Drive in Laflin.

Police picked him up on other charges, but Bonnett now faces two counts of criminal homicide and three counts of arson.

16-year-old Erik Dupree, 12-year-old Devon Major, and 7-year-old Ezekiel Major all died in the fire.

The boys leave behind several family members, including their mother Susan Major.

"They are showing amazing strength through such a trying time. It is just unbelievable how strong they are being.”

We're also learning more about how police connected Bonnett to the fire.

According to court documents, police identified him during a review of the home's surveillance system.

They claim a hand tattoo along with a sweatshirt found at Bonnett's Wilkes-Barre home matched the person in the video.

The documents also state the video, which is time-stamped, shows him on the back porch about five minutes before Erik Dupree's desperate call to police.

The boy's mother told police she installed the security system about a week prior since she was concerned about her family's safety.

"I would like to state that the true hero in this case is Erik Dupree,” Salavantis said.

Court papers show Dupree identified Bonnett to a 911 dispatcher as the man on the porch, calling him his mother's ex-boyfriend who was not allowed at the home.

He lived there before being kicked out this summer.

When questioned by police, Bonnett told them he stayed at the home several times but didn't remember the last time he was there.

Police say it was last Wednesday night when he took three young lives.

An autopsy for Eziekel Major is scheduled for Tuesday.

It's expected additional charges will be filed for his death sometime this week.


ORIGINAL STORY: A Wilkes-Barre man is facing charges, accused of starting a fire that killed three children.

Preston Bonnett will face two counts of criminal homicide and a three counts of arson, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Bonnett is expected to be arraigned shortly.

Investigators say the fire was intentionally set at the home on Oakwood Drive in Laflin Borough October 25th.

The victims were 8-year-old Ezekiel Major, 12-year-old Devon Major, and 16-year-old Erik Dupree.

Additional charges are possible after a cause of death is determined for Ezekiel Major, who died Saturday.

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