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Arson suspect charged with murder

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:34 a.m. HST, Mar 10, 2011

An Oahu grand jury yesterday indicted a man evicted from a Liliha Street rooming house for setting a fire there that killed a 76-year-old tenant.

James Kimo Moses, 43, was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, five counts of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree arson and four drug possession charges.

He remained in custody, unable to post $500,000 bail.

Twenty-two people were in the two-story wooden structure at 1909 Liliha St. just after midnight Feb. 2 when the fire started.

Clarence Isobe was one of three tenants who suffered burns; he died at a hospital. The other two suffered second- and third-degree burns.

Moses had been evicted from the house last December, deputy prosecutor Keith Seto said. When police arrested him last Thursday at a Kakaako homeless camp, the hair on his arms was singed, Seto said.

Seto said Moses told others that he started the fire.

Because the victim was older than 60, Moses could face an enhanced sentence of life in prison without the opportunity for parole if convicted of second-degree murder. He also faces life without parole on the attempted first-degree murder charge.

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