Woman charged with killing two people in a house fire in Exposition Park

Los Angeles firefighters battle a blaze at a house in Exposition Park that killed two people.

A 24-year-old woman is charged with murder after police said she set an Exposition Park home on fire last week following a dispute.

A 24-year-old woman was charged with murder Thursday after police said she set an Exposition Park home on fire last week following a dispute.

Khala Swasey, who once lived at the boarding home where the fire erupted, has been charged with two counts of special circumstances murder, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

At about 12:30 a.m on Aug. 22, firefighters responded to the home in the 1000 block of Leighton Avenue, police said.

Sixteen people were rescued. George Hills, 66, and his sister, Yolanda McGruder, 53, were taken to a hospital where they died from their injuries.


After speaking to witnesses and processing the crime scene, police determined that Swasey had intentionally set the fire inside the home, LAPD Capt. William Hayes told reporters at a news conference Thursday. Hayes said that Swasey made statements that indicated that she was involved in the blaze.

“The fire was set to make a point and things obviously got out of hand,” Hayes said.

The charges come days after a man was set on fire on skid row after a dispute. The defendant in that case, Jonathan Early, 38, has been charged with capital murder in the Aug. 26 incident.

Swasey faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted. Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty.

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