Apartment fire

Early Friday morning, there was a fire in the apartment of Markeda Byas, 31 and her boyfriend Jimmy Reed. Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which they say had been fueled by an accelerant.

Inside the home they found the bodies of Markeda Byas, 31, and her 2 month old baby Arctavia Reed in a bedroom. Police say that Markeda’s body showed signs of severe trauma and they believe she was dead before the fire. The baby died of smoke inhalation. Authorities described the murder as savage.

Police interviewed Jimmy Reed, 30, on Monday after Reed turned himself in for questioning. Reed was reportedly Markeda’s boyfriend and the father of the baby. Police then placed him under arrest for open murder and arson in the deaths.

Byas was also the mother of a 7 year old boy, but he was spending the night with his grandmother the night of the fire. No one else at the complex was injured.




Many think that fire covers crimes. But with forensics today, a lot of evidence can be recovered even after a fire. The body may still show the cause of death, the length of time the fire blazed can point to the time the person was killed, the use of an accelerant can be detected. A fire not only doesn’t cover up a crime, in some cases it can provide additional evidence.

Allegedly this guy not only killed his girlfriend, he set fire to the apartment and left his own baby to die. Now presumably the boyfriend had something against his girlfriend. He was jealous, or he was angry. But what crime did his baby commit against him?

A 7 year old boy goes to stay all night with his grandmother. Suddenly he is told they died and he will never see his mother or his baby sister again. At some point he will learn that his sister’s Daddy, the man who lived in the home with him is the one who killed them. What kind of issues will he have to deal with? Somehow I have a feeling that a difficulty in trusting will be one of the problems.

The big tough guy who could kill a woman couldn’t deal with facing up to what he did, couldn’t take responsibility for his actions. And so he decides to burn the evidence. Was fatherhood and a baby another responsibility he couldn’t handle?

Another apartment fire, other families lives were endangered. Fighting fires is dangerous, so firefighters were also endangered. Countless friends and relatives grieving. Property damage. The cost of one man’s loss of control is high.


Police have stated that Reed went to Byas’ apartment about 8 am. Byas and the baby were asleep. Allegedly Reed shot Byas in the head and then left the home and drove to the home of another girlfriend, where he stayed for a few hours before going to work. He then returned to the home, where he set the fire. Police say that Reed has told them the baby woke up screaming when the fire started.

Police believe the motive for the murders was that Reed did not want to pay child support to Byas. Reed already has a 7 year old child, and is expecting another child in a few weeks, by another girlfriend.

Reed was arraigned Wed. on murder and arson charges.



1 Comment

  1. Raekel said,

    December 7, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Its just a shame that he would do this to his family he had been with for years. This case is just makes me not want to ever trust anybody.

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