Trial date set for teen arrested for fatal fire in Trumann

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) –A trial date has been set for a teen arrested for a fatal fire in Trumann.

According to the prosecuting attorney's office, 17-year-old DJ Wade appeared in court Friday, where a judge set his trial dates for August 20th through August 24th.

The juvenile arrested for a fatal fire in Trumann, appeared in court August 31st.

According to the prosecuting attorney's office, Wade pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide and two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.

Wade is being charged as an adult.

Wade is charged in the fatal duplex fire in Trumann that killed 13-month-old Blake Pierce, and injured his twin brother, Drake and 3-year-old brother Robert.

The fire happened at 218 Dog Wood Avenue on January 27th. Blake Pierce died from smoke inhalation. His brothers Drake and Robert suffered smoke inhalation as well. Fire investigators said the fire started when a mattress caught fire in the bedroom.

Firefighters and volunteers were able to find 13-month-old Drake Pierce first and pull him to safety while performing CPR. Moments later, 13-month-old Blake Pierce and 3-year-old Robert Pierce were found and pulled from the smoke-filled home.

Blake Pierce was pronounced dead at the hospital. Drake and Robert were then transported to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

Trumann Police Chief, Chad Henson said Wade was a suspect from the get-go. "Several things that the investigators and the fire marshals recovered at the scene, his statements originally, after the fire, and several statements from the witnesses after the fire, even months after the fire, led him to be one of the prime suspects," Henson said.

Henson said there was never any foul play suspected. "Just negligence from the beginning," Henson said. "Of what they were doing inside that house has led to his eventual charge and arrest."

Henson said they believe illegal things were going on inside the duplex, which led to the negligent homicide charge. "Officers found drug paraphernalia inside and also several statements have come out that drug paraphernalia and drug use were going on inside the house," he said.

Wade is due back in court on August 10.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and bring you the latest details as they occur.

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