Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo and Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson reported that a Texas man has been arraigned in a fatal fire that occurred on Friday, July 9, 2004, in East Camden.
Jesus Perez-Rivera, age 31 of Killeen, Texas, is charged with three counts of felony murder. Presiding Criminal Division Judge Edward J. McBride, Jr. set bail at $2,000,000 cash or bond.
According to a probable cause statement, Perez-Rivera is accused of setting the fire that killed Maria Silva, 29, her husband, Luis Silva, 32, and her 6-year-old son, Carlos Cruz.
The fire was reported at approximately 4:50 a.m. on July 9, 2004, at the victims’ residence on the 900 block of North 22nd Street. The three victims were among nine people who were rescued by Camden City Fire Department and transported to the hospital. The Silvas and Cruz subsequently died as a result of the injuries they sustained in the fire.
An investigation conducted by the City of Camden Fire Marshall’s Office determined that the fire was “incendiary.”
Perez-Rivera, a former Camden resident who moved to Puerto Rico with his family shortly after the fire, was identified as a suspect during a subsequent investigation by detectives in Camden County.
Perez-Rivera was taken into custody by the Killeen Police Department on May 25, 2016 and was held in a Texas jail until he was extradited to New Jersey.
All persons charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Released Wednesday, January 4, 2017.