Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homeless men deny guilt in firefighter's death

Two homeless men charged with murder for allegedly setting a fire that resulted in the death of a veteran firefighter have pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for Emilio Vasquez and Jose Flores say their clients did not intend to kill firefighter Gary Stephens, a 28-year veteran.

Police say Vasquez and Flores set fire to curtains in a vacant house in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to try to keep warm on Jan. 2. The fire spread and firefighters responded.

Stephens was standing behind a fire truck, directing it toward a hydrant, when he turned his head and was knocked down by the slow-moving vehicle. He died at a hospital a short time later.

Vasquez and Flores could face life in prison if convicted.

No action was taken against the driver of the truck that ran over Stephens.

Read the Star-Ledger report here.


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