- Man transitioning to woman killed herself in Cape City Jail in June; news comes from architect's pitch in Kansas (2/15/18)2
- Cape Girardeau businessman proposes redevelopment project; seeks taxing district to fund improvements (2/17/18)12
- Charges filed in Sunday murder; suspects in custody (2/14/18)2
- University Foundation to honor Talberts as Friends of the University (2/13/18)2
- TJ's Burgers, Wings & Pizza expands with dining area in Fruitland (2/16/18)
- Major case squad activated to investigate shooting death in Cape (2/13/18)
- Lovebirds for 80 years give advice: Trust, patience and 'Tell 'em you love 'em' (2/14/18)2
- Jackson schools to install artificial turf on football, soccer fields (2/14/18)
- Pence gets it right in response to attack on Christian faith (2/17/18)2
- Area restaurants plan for those observing Lent on Valentine's Day (2/12/18)
Federal murder charges filed in deadly arson case
BALTIMORE -- Federal prosecutors filed seven charges of murder-by-arson against a man Wednesday for a blaze police say was set in retaliation against a mother crusading against neighborhood drug dealers.
The charges against Darrell Brooks, 21, carry the death penalty, though prosecutors said they have not decided whether to pursue it.
"If you firebomb a house and you kill seven people -- if that's not a federal case, what is?" U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio said. "Seven people were burned alive in their home."
Angela Dawson and her five children died when fire tore through their three-story rowhouse Oct. 16. Dawson's husband, Carnell Dawson, was burned over 80 percent of his body and died a week later.
Police said Brooks set the blaze in retaliation for the family's repeated complaints about area drug dealers.
The 10-count indictment charges Brooks with seven counts of arson resulting in death and other charges related to an earlier fire at the Dawson home.
Baltimore prosecutor Patricia Jessamy, whose office filed the state charges, said she supports the death penalty in this case.
"The death penalty should be reserved for the most heinous crimes," Jessamy said. "You can't get any more heinous than this crime."
Because of the federal charges, Brooks' earlier state charges are scheduled to be dismissed Thursday at a hearing in Baltimore. DiBiagio said it could be a year before the federal trial begins.
In addition to Angela, 36, and Carnell Dawson, 43, the fire claimed the lives of Keith and Kevin Dawson, 9; Carnell Dawson Jr., 10; Juan Ortiz, 12; and LaWanda Ortiz, 14.