Los Angeles

Suspect Charged With Murder in Studio Fire

Eferem Zimbalist Demery of Los Angeles was charged with five felony counts in relation to a fire that left two people dead.

Twenty-eight-year-old Eferem Zimbalist Demery of Los Angeles was charged Tuesday with five felony counts in relation to a fire that left two people dead. Demery faces two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of arson of a structure.

In addition, the felony complaint includes allegations of multiple murders and the charging document references the defendant's alleged use of gasoline as an accelerant.

Demery was originally scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, but the arraignment was postponed until May 17.

The blaze at Top Notch Recordings killed two men, critically injured two other victims and caused caused minor injuries to a fifth person, according to LAPD Homicide-Robbery Division Capt. William Hayes in a press briefing held on Saturday.

DeVaughn Cemar Carter, 28, of Los Angeles, and Michael Pollard, 30, were pronounced dead at the scene. Demery knew both victims and was friends with at least one of them, Hayes said. Detectives believe a dispute between Demery and the men is what led Demery to set the fire.

In the same press briefing, LAPD Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg said, "Our investigators have determined this fire was intentionally started using an accelerant."

Police allege that Demery went to a Chevron gas station across from the music studio to purchase the gasoline that he used to speed up the fire. Hayes said that Demery entered the studio, poured the gasoline in a hallway near the room where the two deceased victims were staying and fled the scene through a rear exit.

Demery was arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer after committing a traffic infraction on Saturday, according to the police captain. Eisenberg added that the accused has a prior criminal record for burglary and selling counterfeit goods.

Approximately 15 people were inside when the fire broke out according to investigators. Carter and Pollard were in the same room when the blaze erupted, while the two critically injured victims were in other areas of the studio, Hayes said.

A male in his 20's and a female juvenile, 15, remained hospitalized in critical condition according to Eisenberg. 

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