A landlord convicted of murder for a 2010 arson fire in Cicero that killed seven people, including two children, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Lawrence J. Myers, 64, was found guilty of seven counts of first-degree murder last month in a trial before Judge Carol Kipperman at the Maywood courthouse, court records show.
Kipperman said if Illinois law allowed she would have sentenced Myers to death, according to The Tribune.
Myers owned a struggling building in Wisconsin and conspired with building manager Marion “Andre” Comier to set the fire at Myers’ Cicero property to help his financial situation, prosecutors said at their bond hearings in March 2010.
Comier mixed gasoline and oil to hide the smell and allegedly lit the fatal blaze at the building in the 3000 block of South 48th Court on Valentine’s Day 2010, authorities said.
The early morning fire killed seven of the 12 people asleep in the apartment: Sallie Gist, 18; Gist’s two children, Rayshawn Reed, 3, and newborn Byron Reed; her twin siblings, Elisha and Elijah Gist, 16; her boyfriend, Byron Reed, 20; and family friend Tiera Davidson, 19.
Witnesses ultimately came forward after hearing the defendants talking about the plot, the Sun-Times previously reported. An informant wearing a wire caught Myers discussing Comier after the blaze, saying the fire was supposed to have been set while the children were at school.
At a bond hearing, prosecutors read from a transcript of the conversation: “I told him to do it in the afternoon before the kids came home from school. I told him I’d give him $3,000 ... I told him not to hurt anybody.”
Myers, of the 3200 block of South 50th Avenue in Cicero, was scheduled appear in court Dec. 16, court records show. He has been held without bond at the Cook County Jail since his arrest.