Trial begins for arson suspect in deadly house fire - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Trial begins for arson suspect in deadly house fire

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SAN DIEGO ( CBS 8 ) - The trial began Tuesday for a Mira Mesa man accused of starting a fire that killed his mother and sister.

Thongsavath Sphabmixay, 45, is charged with two counts of murder in the April 2013 arson deaths of his sister Pamela and mother, Bouakham.

The Laotian family died after the fire at the 11000 block of Featherhill Lane.

A male roommate says he noticed the strong smell of gasoline outside of his bedroom after a weird interaction with Sphabmixay. Moments after closing his bedroom door, a fire erupted.

The witness testified that he jumped over the fire and down a staircase only to burn his foot before it hit a gas can. He said he made his way downstairs, where the defendant was waiting.

"He said 'Come on man, let's go,'" the witness said.

He claims Sphabmixay didn't try to help rescue the victims and left the scene.

Detectives say his DNA was on a gas can and he had a lighter on him, but the defense attorney says only the defendant's clothes were tested and not everyone in the house including his sister, mother and roommate.

Sphabmixay could face the death penalty if he's convicted.

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