An Arlington man had bail set at $30,000 at his arraignment today on charges of arson and attempted murder for an incident last October on West Street downtown, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
Matthew Cody, 30, was so intent on setting two sleeping homeless men on fire that he set a second fire when the first one went out, Assistant District Attorney David McGowan said in court today.
According to the DA's office, Cody had left his job at a downtown restaurant around 11 p.m. on Oct. 8 when he walked past two homeless men sleeping in an alcove at 41 West St.
He allegedly stopped a short distance away, retrieved a book from a recycling bin on the sidewalk, and walked back to the alcove.
Prosecutors say Cody placed the book on the ground close to the two sleeping men, set it on fire, and walked a short distance away. When the fire went out on its own, he allegedly returned and set it on fire again. This time, the fire took hold and spread to the cardboard used as a cushion by the two sleeping men and then the alcove in which they were situated.
An employee at a nearby youth services agency smelled smoke and went outside to investigate. He saw the fire, roused the two sleeping men, and tried to extinguish the spreading blaze with a trash barrel he filled with water. The Boston Fire Department estimated the cost of the fire damage at $18,000.
Prosecutors say surveillance video from nearby cameras led investigators to a nearby restaurant.
Investigators obtained a list of employees on duty that night and, from that list, identified Cody as a potential suspect. Three co-workers who looked at the videos identified the man shown on them as Cody, prosecutors say.