Saginaw man charged in death of mother, sister after fire - WNEM TV 5

Saginaw man charged in death of mother, sister after fire

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Jason Desmone (Source: Saginaw County Jail) Jason Desmone (Source: Saginaw County Jail)
Source: Michigan State Sex Offender Registry Source: Michigan State Sex Offender Registry

A Saginaw man has been arraigned for the deaths of his mother and sister after a fire.

Jason Enrico Desmone, 38, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of felony murder and two counts of first-degree arson. He is also charged with failure to register as a sex offender. 

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His mother, 71-year-old Adair Smithpeters, and his sister, 41-year-old Melissa Shook, were killed in the fire at a home on Wood Street in Saginaw the night of February 12

"If you intentionally set a house on fire when people are sleeping in it, there's a real good likelihood they're going to perish in the fire," Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser said. 

Desmone, who escaped the fire, was ordered to be held without bond.

Officials said the home had been condemned hours earlier and no one was supposed to be inside.

Desmone's neighbors said he was acting suspicious the night of the fire.

"I kind of knew something wasn't right because he got his dogs out, but he didn't get his mom and sister out and everything looked suspicious," one neighbor said.

"He didn't seem genuine enough. He didn't seem like he cared about everybody else in the house. He just kept asking people to put his dogs in the car," another neighbor said.

Desmone was convicted in 1995 of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct involving a child under the age of 13, according to the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry.

He was later convicted of criminal sexual misconduct in the fourth-degree and first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving an incapacitated victim in 2000.

Desmone could face life in prison without parole if he is found guilty of these crimes.

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