A man accused of burning a 62-year-old homeless man to death and igniting a tent on skid row earlier this week has been charged with murder, prosecutors announced Wednesday, Aug. 28.
According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, Jonathan Early, 38, faces one count of murder in the death of Dwayne Fields. The charge involves a special circumstance of the crime was intentional and involving torture infliction, the DA’s Office said.
It is alleged that Jonathan Early set a tent on fire near 6th and San Pedro streets in downtown L.A. on Monday, the victim who was inside was burned.
When the first responders came, Dwayne Fields was walking near the fire junction and although they were able to put out the flames that he died in a hospital the next morning.
Jonathan Early escaped, but shortly after he was arrested, authorities said. He was described as a transient by a law enforcement source, the Times reported.
Dwayne Fields as a beloved skilled musician on the blues guitar and skid row mentor. He would have been in and out of housing, but the stints never lasted long because most of the buildings couldn’t accommodate his girlfriend with mobility issues.
According to prosecutors, the defendant could face the death penalty or life in jail without parole if prosecuted as charged. They will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a subsequent date, said the DA’s office.
Jonathan Early is on bail of $2 million, records of county prisoners indicate.
No further information on the case was given by the authorities, which is still under inquiry by the L.A. Departments of police and fire.