LIMA — A Lima teenager charged with starting a fire that killed his half-brother was arraigned Friday in Allen County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated murder, murder and aggravated arson.
Jervon Fernandez-Wesley, 18, is being held on $1 million bond for allegedly causing the death of 14-year-old Michael Gillyard as a result of the blaze.
Lima firefighters were dispatched at 4:40 a.m. Aug. 15 to 128 W. Circular St. in reference to a fire at the residence with people still inside. Upon arriving, firemen observed heavy smoke coming from 124 and 128 W. Circular St., which is a duplex. There were people actively trying to evacuate the 128 W. Circular St. location. Firefighters were informed there was still someone inside that residence, so they went inside to perform a search.
Once inside, they located Gillyard in an upstairs bedroom. He was unresponsive and taken to Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. There were six people inside the home; Gillyard was the only one who did not make it out alive.
The Lima Fire Department stayed on the scene and actively extinguishing the fire. Fire Investigator Joe Lombardo determined the fire was suspicious. The Lima Police Department started an investigation into the matter and discovered Fernandez-Wesley set the fire.
Court documents show he had been kicked out of the home a few hours before the fire started.
Fernandez-Wesley initially told police he was sleeping at a friend’s house at the time of the fire. He later admitted he started the blaze by lighting a stuffed animal on fire in the bathroom, as well as lighting several papers in the kitchen.
Court records show he told investigators he started the fire to “hurt anyone in the house.”