AP NEWS

Missouri man charged with murder after house fire kills teen

January 21, 2020 GMT

FLORISSANT, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a man with murder in the death of a 16-year-old boy in a fire at his suburban St. Louis home.

Bobby Copass, 39, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder and first-degree arson after the victim, Dustin Baggett, died Saturday. Baggett was injured in a fire Friday at a Florissant home where he lived with his mother, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Copass is being held on $1 million bond at the St. Louis County jail.

Copass is a cousin of the boy’s stepfather and was living with him and his family. Bagett’s great-aunt, Patricia Lake, told the newspaper that Copass apparently set the fire after being asked to move out.

Dustin’s mother escaped but firefighters had to pull Baggett out of a window, said Deputy Fire Chief Mark Flauter of the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District.

Lake said Baggett, who is autistic, never regained consciousness and the family decided to remove him from life support Saturday.

Copass served a 15-year prison sentence for an assault, robbery and kidnapping in 2003 in St. Louis, according to court files. Copass was discharged from parole on Aug. 16, 2018, Missouri prison spokesman Garry Brix said.

Online court records don’t indicate whether Copass has an attorney.