A 22-year-old woman, who allegedly set fire to a Dyker Heights apartment building, killing two of her neighbors, was indicted on a charge of arson and murder, Eric Gonzalez, acting Brooklyn district attorney, said Monday.
Joanna Mei, who is a resident of 6709 11th Ave., set fire to newspapers in a trash can with a candle on the first floor of her building, Gonzalez said. The two-alarm fire quickly spread to the top floors of the three-story building, killing two neighbors — 58-year old Xi Huang and 56-year-old Feng Xu, according to police.
Surveillance footage from the building showed Mei exiting theresidence soon after neighbors detected the fire and called 911, Gonzalez said. When captured, police detected accelerant on her shoes, he added.
“The alleged actions of this defendant displayed a complete and callous disregard for human life, and caused two tragic but avoidable deaths,” Gonzalez said in a news release. “We will now seek justice for the victims and their loved ones for the heartbreaking loss that they suffered.”
Mei was arraigned before Kings County Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog on Monday in Brooklyn, where she was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree arson, Gonzalez said.
She has been ordered back in court on Feb. 6, until when she will be held without bail, he said.
Mei, whose alleged actions led to the injuries of five people, including a 4-year-old girl and a 3-month-old boy, could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted, according to Gonzalez.
The case is being prosecuted by the district attorney’s Homicide Bureau, he added.