KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A man who told police he was upset that a landlord didn’t return his security deposit has pleaded guilty to setting a fire that killed two boys in Illinois.
Alex Sawyer will be sentenced to 20 years to 30 years in prison after his guilty plea Thursday. A fire in Kankakee killed 4-year-old Justice Stewart and 2-year-old JuShaun Watson in 2016. They were brothers.
Their mother, Crystal Ward, says she favored a deal instead of a trial because she didn’t want “any chance” for Sawyer to be acquitted. Prosecutor Joe Kosman says the deal means the family won’t have to “relive that awful day” in court.
The family was in a second-floor apartment when the fire broke out. Kosman says the 64-year-old Sawyer was upset that the building owner didn’t return his $550 security deposit from years ago.