NEW HAVEN -- An arson suspect in New Haven was arraigned today, but, according to his public defender, police got the wrong guy.
New Haven emergency responders had to deal with three fires in approximately five hours on Christmas morning and the man, who was before a judge today, may have had involvement in two of them
“Excuse me, your honor, I would like to say something,” said Maunda Knight, who New Haven police have hit with five charges, including arson, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a minor and possession of a controlled substance in connection to a fire they say was incendiary on Garden St.
The public defender for the 37-year-old was the only one who spoke on his behalf, contending police arrested the wrong man, based on the description of the suspect, who allegedly intentionally tried to set a Garden St. apartment on fire just before 6 o’clock on Christmas morning by allegedly firing a brick with chemicals on it through the kitchen window.
“Mr. Knight is not 6 feet tall. He is not wearing all black,” said his Public Defender.
According to the police report, Knight was allegedly caught at about 3 a.m. peering into the kitchen window of the apartment that later experienced a fire. He was arrested just before 8 AM near the Mobil station at the intersection of Sherman and Whalley Avenues after someone identified him as the suspect.
“The scariest thing is everyone over here has children.,” said a resident of the Garden St. apartment complex, who asked not to be identified. ”That could’ve spread in the wee hours of the night. Everyone was asleep waiting for Santa Claus.”
Knight’s Risk of Injury to a minor charge as a result of the family, who lives in the targeted Garden St. apartment, includes a small child, according to an assistant state's attorney, who spoke in court.
“They said that their four-year-old was in the house when this happened and she is still traumatized from the incident,” said the prosecutor.
Sources tell FOX61 Knight, who has numerous felony convictions, is also a person of interest in the Christmas morning fire that heavily damaged what’s known as the Walter Camp house on Chapel Street, which is just two blocks from Garden Street.