NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP/WTNH) — A man has been arrested on murder and arson charges in connection with a New London building fire that left two people dead , officials said Saturday.
New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio announced late Saturday that 29-year-old Joel Matthews has been arrested on two counts of murder and one count of arson in connection with the Friday fire on Blinman Street.
Officials say Matthews lived on the second floor of the building. Police say he confessed that he had an argument with first-floor residents Sherry Roush and 57-year-old Noel Starback and struck them with an object, causing blunt force trauma. Police say Matthews told them he then set the house on fire to conceal his crime.
Friends and family have been visiting the site, leaving flowers and candles.
Many say they were shocked to hear the news that their friends were the victims of a murder.
"I was here all the time," said Kevin Salerno, friend of the victims. "He was like my best friend, ya know?"
"As soon as I got here they said that someone was deceased and they were resuscitating someone," said Jerry Morrison, who lived on the third floor of the home. "I had no idea it was a murder at the time. Ya know, I thought maybe someone might have fell asleep with the stove on or something, but I had no idea of the extent of how bad the situation really is."
News 8 is told Matthews had only lived on the second floor for one to two weeks, and that his mother is the one who normally resides in the building.
Officials say Matthews is being held on $5 million bail and is due in court on Monday.
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