Man Hit With 76 Murder Counts Over Fire

Man Hit With 76 Murder Counts Over Fire

( – In 2021, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) released a worldwide report on homicides. It showed the global estimate of victims of murders was 458,000 – an estimated 176,000 having taken place in Africa. The report also stated that data collected for 2022 wasn’t looking any better. Recently, an intentional act in South Africa added to 2023’s total.

On January 25, ABC News reported that a man was charged with 76 counts of murder, 86 counts of attempted murder, and arson for causing a fire in a five-story apartment building in August 2023. The incident happened in Johannesburg, South Africa. The suspect in question, Sithembiso Lawrence Mdlalose, allegedly admitted to being a drug user and that he was attempting to burn the body of another man in the apartment building’s basement — a person he reportedly killed.

Police say after strangling the man, Mdlalose poured gasoline over the body before setting it on fire with a match. Apparently, he was acting under the direction of a drug dealer — who also lived in the building.

The shocking revelation came to light when he made a written confession stating he started the blaze. According to the Associated Press, Mdlalose’s lawyer, Dumisani Mabunda, received a copy of the confession and didn’t believe it was coerced.

Reports say illegal landlords were running the apartment building, which the city of Johannesburg owned. The building was reportedly abandoned by authorities, and residents were paying the fake landlords to reside there.

Temporary flammable structures littered the interior of the building, and the fire escapes were either locked up or chained. There were no fire hoses or extinguishers in the complex, leaving residents without the means to put out the deadly fire. Many injured people jumped out of windows in their desperation to escape and threw their babies to safety.

Mdlalose has yet to make a plea, but he could face life in prison, as South Africa has no capital punishment.

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