Melissa Pfeiffer, 26, of Chelsea, Massachusetts, was arraigned and held without bail on charges of Murder and Arson for the Christmas Eve blaze at 295 Spruce Street in Chelsea that killed 20 year old Crystal Lynn Blanchard.
According to the Chelsea Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Pfeiffer, after an argument with her boyfriend, allegedly set his clothes on fire. The boyfriend had left the apartment to cool off, but when he returned, he found that his clothes had been set on fire. The fire, however, spread through their apartment building and grew to a three alarm fire that caused severe damage to the apartment building.
In a neighboring apartment, Crystal Lynn Blanchard was trapped inside; unable to escape, she eventually died within the apartment of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. Her boyfriend, however, managed to jump from a second story window but did suffer from severe burns.
The crime of Arson is defined as the willful and malicious setting of fire or causing the burning of a dwelling or building of another. In Massachusetts, the crime of Arson is punishable with up to 20 years in state prison.
In order to be convicted of Arson, willfulness and malice are required to constitute the state of mind necessary to commit the criminal act of Arson. The word willfully means that the act was intentional and by design, rather than an act that is thoughtless or accidental. In other words, a person acting willfully intends both his conduct and the resulting harm.
With this in mind, it may be difficult for Suffolk County prosecutors to obtain an Arson conviction against Melissa Pfeiffer in this case. Despite her allegedly setting her boyfriend’s clothes on fire was stupid, there is a real issue whether she intended the building to be burnt as a result…
Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris Travayiakis understands the severe consequences one faces when charged with major felony crimes and Crimes of Violence such as Arson and Murder, and for that reason, is available 24/7 for consultation.
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