GUILTY IL - Five kids, ages 5 mos to 10 yrs, die in Quincy arson fire, 15 April 2007

Discussion in 'Recently Sentenced and Beyond' started by accmjc, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. accmjc

    accmjc New Member

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    Zachary Quetez Meeks, 27, of 613 1/2 N. Seventh St. in Quincy, has been arrested, according to Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley. He said Meeks was an acquaintance of the family of fire victims, and "there was some sort of incident between him and at least one member of the family."
    The children's aunt, Michelle Gavin, told WGEM-TV in Quincy that Meeks, who is her cousin, poured gas on the front of her sister's house and set it on fire.
    Adams County, Ill., Coroner Gary Hamilton identified the fire victims as Kendall Edwards, 10; Althea Clark, 9; Camron Clark, 5; Khalil Clark, 3; and Kejuan Clark, 5 months. Police and fire officials reported they were siblings. Their autopsies are scheduled today, Monday, in Springfield, Ill.
    During a press conference Sunday afternoon at Quincy City Hall, Fire Chief Scott Walker confirmed a woman was restrained from entering the burning home at 428 N. Seventh St. to attempt to rescue the children. He explained a woman attempted to crawl in the window and was burned. Walker said he could not confirm the woman at the scene was the mother of the children. Their mother was not named.
    However, the father of the children, Keith Clark of the same address, was injured, Walker said. Clark was taken to Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Ill.
    Quincy Fire Chief Scott Walker declined to report whether the children were believed to be alone in their home, when the fire started. When asked if any charges were pending if the children had been left alone, he said none were at this time.
    He said all five children were found deceased on the second floor of the two-story brick home. Two were found in a bathroom, two near a window in a bedroom and one near an exit.
    Regarding how Meeks was arrested, Copley said after the fire was discovered, the police were called to Meeks' home, where an altercation was reported.
    Meeks was found to be injured and was taken to Blessing Hospital for treatment. He was later arrested and charged with five counts of first degree murder, along with one count of aggravated arson and one count of arson. He remained in Adams County Jail in Quincy on Sunday evening.
    Copley said there was more than one altercation involving Meeks, and one was prior to the fire.
    'We mourn their loss' Mayor John Spring
    At the press conference Quincy Mayor John Spring said, "there was a tragic fire" and "five young children lost their lives in the fire. It is very sad and we mourn their loss."
    Spring added that "the house was so intensely ablaze they (the fire department) could not rescue anyone." he said.
    Copley said that "following an extensive investigation, one suspect has been arrested for starting the fatal fire," naming Meeks. "We have been working closely with Adams County States Attorney Jon Barnard," he continued. "I have been assured that Mr. Meeks will be charged on all counts in court tomorrow (today, Monday)."
    Copley was asked by a reporter if it was true that Meeks had tried to shoot himself after the fire, and Copley did not discuss this.
    Walker was last to speak. He said he "echoed the mayor to extend our sympathies to the friends and families of the victims."
    Walker said the fire was reported at 3:05 a.m. Sunday and fire crews arrived at 3:09 a.m. "On arrival the fire was fully engulfing the main floor of the building," he said. "There was also fire showing on the second floor.
    "The fire was brought under control within minutes of arrival of our crews. In addition to the five fatalities, there were also two injuries to civilians and one minor injury to a firefighter. The injured civilians were the children's father and the woman who tried to enter the home, he said.
    The injured firefighter was David White, who had a minor radiation burn to the face.
    Walker reported the Salvation Army has been assisting the family.
    When asked about the cause of the fire, Walker said "it is premature to discuss cause of the fire," while it is still under investigation by a Joint Task Force. The task force is composed of the Quincy Police Department, Quincy Fire Department and Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office.
    Copley expressed his thanks to the agencies involved in the fire. "I wish to thank members of the Quincy Police Department, Adams County Sheriff's Department, Quincy Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office for their dedication and hard work today," he said.
    "Their jobs are hard to do, but they have done well," Copley said. "While there is much more work to do on this case, what they have all done today has brought us to a point where we, as a community, can sleep a little more comfortably tonight."
    At the end of the press conference Mayor Spring returned to say he "would encourage people to make sure their smoke detectors and fire alarms are working."
    The Associated Press provided information about Meeks starting the fire.
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  3. GreenEyedGirl

    GreenEyedGirl New Member

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    The story on this is that it is all drug related. The parents weren't home because they were out dealing drugs. I don't think this guy meant to harm his cousins. But, I think it's a complete shame that drugs would play such a role in this tragedy. Is it worth it? I think not.
  4. Belinda

    Belinda Doer of Things

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    Zachary Quetez Meeks

    Housed: Pontiac Correctional Center
    Custody Date: 04/15/2007

    Offense: 5 counts 1st Degree Murder
    Sentence: LWOP

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