A 37-year-old Silver Spring man has been indicted an arson and murder charges in the death last month of a Southeast Washington Woman during a fire that flared through the home of the woman's 80-year-old mother.
Ravinel Odom of 10715 Larkridge Dr. was indicted Wednesday by a D.C. Superior Court grand jury in connection with the death of Marie Helfey, who lived at 647 14th Pl. SE. Helfey, who was in her 50s, was killed in a fire Sept. 4 that was started by a Molotov cocktail on the second floor of the rowhouse, official said.
Helfey's mother, Ethel Featherstone, was awakened in her downstairs bedroom by neighbors who managed to rescue her. But her daughter, who was sleeping in a second-floor bedroom, was fatally burned and died several days later.
Featherstone, a frail woman who walks with the aid of a crutch, has continued to live in the dilapidated house since the fire. Reached at home yesterday, she said she did not know Odom nor did she know whether her daughter knew him.
Damage done by the fire still is evident on the building's second floor, where only one of six windows has been replaced. The electrical wiring was destroyed in the fire and the only light in the house is one in the kitchen that a neighbor hooked up to his house.
Earlier this month, Featherstone's plight was described in The Washington Post. She said that since then, she has received promises of help from several people. "One man came around and checked everything, inside and outside," she said. "He said it would take a while to get the equipment together. This house is so old, you just can't go pick up parts anymore. I think he said he would have to order it."
An electrician also stopped by to see what wiring was needed. She said the man promised to return, but that she hasn't seen him since.
She said she keeps the burners on her gas stove lighted day and night in an effort to heat the house. "I'm just praying to the Lord for his help," she said.
Despite the condition of the building, Featherstone has refused to move. "This is my home," she said in an interview. "I own it and it's paid for. I moved here on Nov. 12, 1950, and been here ever since. I'm gonna stay right here until I die."