Arrest in arson cold case
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Wed., Mar. 2, 2011
East Hartford police say an arrest has been made in a 2007 arson cold case. Rehab King, 28, was arrested Feb. 26 in connection with a series of arson fires that occurred on Cavan Road in East Hartford between June 2007 and March 2008.
King became a person of interest after an investigation by the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory identified DNA evidence collected at the scene. King’s DNA profile had been entered into a national database as a result of his arrest for bank robbery in New Jersey. The DNA came from a cigarette butt found at the arson crime scene, police said.
The house at 40 Cavan Road had four suspicious fires, and King has been charged with setting the first fire and the last one, according to Lt. Curtis Stoldt, a spokesman for the East Hartford police department, who added that more charges against King are pending.
The suspect has been charged with first-degree arson, second-degree arson and first degree burglary. There were no injuries caused by any of the fires. King had left the state and was living in New Jersey where he was arrested and convicted of bank robbery, but had been released from custody.
King was wanted for questioning in connection to the East Hartford arson fires, Stoldt said, but his whereabouts were unknown. On Feb. 11, police were called to a domestic dispute in East Hartford, which led them to King, who had returned to the state.
Sgt. Donald Olson and Det. Jodi Eberl, who had worked on the arson investigation, interviewed King. Based on that interview, Stoldt said, the officers had King sent to a hospital for mental evaluation. King was later transferred to Capitol Region Mental Health facility in Hartford.
During the interview, police said King told them he started the fires because he wanted a church to be able to use the property as a burial ground. “He wanted the house to be gone, and for the church to be able to use the space to bury people,’’ Stoldt said.
King, who gave his address as 78 Great Hill Road , escaped from the mental health facility on Feb. 26. Police tracked him down and he was taken into custody without incident. King is being held on $500,000, and has a court date set for March 16.