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Landlord gets life in prison for arson fire that killed 7 in Cicero

(MAYWOOD) A landlord was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for a 2010 arson fire in west suburban Cicero that killed seven people, including two young children.

Lawrence Myers
Lawrence Myers

Lawrence Myers, 64, was previously convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder in connection with the fire on Feb. 14, 2010, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Judge Carol Kipperman sentenced Myers to natural life in prison during a hearing Tuesday at the Maywood courthouse, according to the statement.

Myers planned the fire along with his building manager—Marion Comier, 51—to collect on a $250,000 insurance policy he held on the building in the 3000 block of South 48th Court in Cicero, prosecutors said.

Myers owned a struggling building in Wisconsin and planned to set the fire at his Cicero property to help his financial situation, according to prosecutors.

The Wisconsin property had been vacant and on the market for several months, and Myers was not able to make the mortgage payments, the Sun-Times previously reported.

Comier mixed gasoline and oil to hide the smell, and lit the fatal blaze about 6:30 a.m. at the four-unit apartment building, authorities said.

The early morning fire killed seven of the 12 people asleep in the apartment: Sallie Gist, 18; Gist’s two children, Rayshawn Reed, 3, and newborn Byron Reed; her twin siblings, Elisha and Elijah Gist, 16; her boyfriend, Byron Reed, 20; and family friend Tiera Davidson, 19.

Flames shot though the structure, blocking the only exit from the attic where all seven victims had been sleeping, prosecutors claimed.

Witnesses ultimately came forward after hearing the defendants talking about the plot, the Sun-Times previously reported. An informant wearing a wire caught Myers discussing Comier after the blaze, saying the fire was supposed to have been set while the children were at school.

Comier, 51, of the 5300 block of West 30th Place in Cicero, is being held without bond while awaiting trial on murder and aggravated arson charges.