Prosecutors say a man intentionally set fire to a home, killing a 39-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl, while he was out of jail on affordable bail for five felony cases. Four other people were injured in the fire, officials say.
Reginald Brown is the ninth person accused of killing or trying to kill someone in Chicago this year while on bail for other serious felonies.
Around 3:59 a.m. on February 28, Brown poured gasoline on the back porch of a house in the 8600 block of South Hermitage and set it on fire because he thought one of the home’s residents had taken his wallet and phone, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Thursday.
Ieashia Ford, 33, and her 10-year-old daughter, Porsche, died in the fire.
Murphy said Ieashia was dating Brown and that she and another occupant of the home went to his house to hang out on the evening before the fire. While they were together, Brown allegedly got into a fight with Ieashia and accused her of taking his wallet and phone and using his credit card to buy things. Ieashia and the other person left.
Brown, 63, later showed up outside their home and repeatedly threatened to burn the house down if they didn’t return his property, Murphy said. Several witnesses were drawn outside by the commotion and saw the threats being made, according to Murphy.
Brown left, then called Ieashia, and she put him on speakerphone so other witnesses could hear what he was saying, Murphy continued. Brown again made multiple threats to burn her house down, he said.
Around 2:30 a.m., a CPD surveillance camera recorded a man carrying a white bag containing a heavy object as he walked toward the victims’ home.
Just before 4 a.m., Brown was captured on a private security camera as paced behind the home before he removed an object from a bag and walked into Ford’s backyard, Murphy said.
“You can see the orange glow from the fire that engulfed the home,” Murphy told Judge Charles Beach. Police found a bleach bottle containing gasoline and an Aldi shopping bag near a dumpster behind the home.
One resident of the home happened to be awake and noticed the porch was on fire. They awakened two of the other residents and then tried to put the fire out with a five-gallon paint bucket.
Ieashia and Porsche Ford never exited the home and both died of smoke inhalation, Murphy said.
The resident who discovered the fire and tried to put it out suffered third degree burns, but is expected to recover. Three other residents were treated for smoke inhalation.
Brown’s roommate later told police he found an Aldi bag containing a bleach bottle on their kitchen floor the evening before the fire. He put it on a shelf. When Brown came home later, he borrowed the roommate’s phone to call Ieashia Ford and threaten to burn her home down, Murphy said. The roommate allegedly heard the call.
After the call, Brown asked his roommate where the bleach bottle had gone and told the roommate that it contained gasoline, Murphy alleged. The roommate told him it was on the shelf.
Brown made a series of incriminating phone calls and statements after setting the fire, Murphy said. The roommate allegedly identified the Aldi bag and bleach bottle that police found near the fire as the same items that were on his kitchen floor shortly before the fire.
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Murphy said Brown posted $5,000 bail to get out of jail on five pending burglary cases from January and February 2020. Two of the cases also involve aggravated assault charges.
Assistant Public Defender Scott Kozicki said Brown has five daughters and three sons.
Brown has been sentenced to prison ten times, most recently for theft in 2019. He received a six-year term for raping a 17-year-old in 1975. He received eight years for armed robbery in 1985; and sentences of various lengths for burglaries in 1990; 1993; 1996; 1999; 2005; and 2014.
Prosecutors have now charged him with two counts of first-degree murder and aggravated arson. Judge Beach ordered Brown held without bail in the connection with the murders and also ordered him held without bail for violating the terms of bond in his pending burglary cases.
- At least 32 people charged with murder in Chicago last year were free on bail at the time of the killings (January 4, 2021)
- We find another man accused of committing murder while on affordable bail in 2020 (January 9, 2021)
- #1: 16-year-old charged with shooting man during robbery while awaiting trial for felony (January 12, 2021)
- #2: Man fatally shot girlfriend while on electronic monitoring for November gun case, prosecutors say (January 20, 2021)
- #3: On bail for 3 separate felony cases, “fanged” man now charged with killing 12-year-old in DUI crash (January 23, 2021)
- #4: Man on affordable bail for his 3rd felony gun case is charged with weekend murder (January 28, 2021)
- #5: Man charged with murder while on bail for 3rd gun case and escape (February 5, 2021)
- #6: Man, on bail for attempted murder and robbery, charged with killing woman while speeding away from police traffic stop (February 25, 2021)
- #7: Teen accused of shooting driver during Wednesday carjacking is awaiting trial for 3 felonies, prosecutors say (February 25, 2021)
- #8: “Highly active” gang member charged with killing rival over haircut — while on affordable bail (March 4, 2021)