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Dad charged in fire that killed infant, her grandparents

July 12, 2021 GMT

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A house fire that killed a 9-month old girl and her grandparents last week was intentionally set by the child’s father, authorities said Monday.

Michael Sanders, 23, of Trenton, is charged with three counts each of murder, felony murder and aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated arson and and one count of causing widespread injury or damage. He was taken into custody early Monday at a hotel in Plainsboro, and it was not immediately known if he’s retained an attorney.

The counts stem from a fire in a duplex in Hamilton Township that broke out around 3:40 a.m. Friday. The flames quickly engulfed both sides of the two and a-half story wood frame home, causing a partial roof collapse.

The infant, Malani Sanders, and her grandmother, Tiffany Abrams-Jones, 42, were pronounced dead at the scene, while Abrams-Jones’ husband, Prince Jones, 50, died Sunday from injuries he suffered in the fire. Two other people who lived in the home — including the infant’s mother — were critically injured in the blaze.


Sanders was recorded on security camera footage buying flammable liquid and walking toward the home minutes before the fire occurred, prosecutors said. Earlier Friday, Sanders had texted the baby’s mother and told her to get their daughter out of the house, they said.

It was not clear when Sanders would be arraigned on the charges, but prosecutors said they will seek to have him detained until his trial is held.