Trial begins for suspect in deadly boarding house fire

James Moses trial

The murder trial began Tuesday morning for a man accused of setting a deadly fire in Kalihi.

James Kimo Moses is accused of setting a boarding house on fire in February 2011. More than 20 people lived in the home. Clarence Isobe, 76, was overcome by smoke and died.

Prosecutors described Moses as an angry former tenant upset with his landlord who kicked him out.

His attorney says there is no evidence linking Moses to the deadly blaze. “There were no eye witnesses, there was no physical evidence left at the scene which would identify the person,” public defender Craig Nagamine said.

But prosecutors say Moses confessed to his ex-girlfriend. “On February 3, the very next day, Marissa is now in contact with the defendant. He tells Marissa, I burned the house down,” prosecutor Darrell Wong said.

Along with the murder charge, Moses faces six charges of attempted murder. If found guilty, he could face life in prison.

The trial could wrap up by Friday.

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