Java Wright Appears in Court After Arson Fire Caught on Video
It's a video that has shocked many. A woman pours gasoline, lights a fire, and then runs away.
Thursday, the alleged arsonist appeared in court for the first time. Charged with arson and homicide, Java Wright faces 100 years in prison.
Wright entered the courtroom wearing a yellow suicide-prevention vest. She showed a spectrum of emotion: shaking her head, rocking back and forth, and tearing up.
The court commissioner concentrated on her demeanor last Friday.
"The allegations in this complaint are very serious and are both disturbing and horrendous," said Barry Phillips, Milwaukee County Court Commissioner.
The video of the fire being set was captured on a cell phone and reviewed by police. Wright told investigators, "I'm the one that set the fire" when witnesses pointed her out to police.
Wright told them she did it because her boyfriend locked her out of the building, and she wanted him to come outside so they could continue fighting.
"This wasn't a single family house where you were just putting him at harm. This was a multi-unit apartment building where several people were there," said Commissioner Phillips.
Court documents explain as Wright smashed the windows she knew multiple people were inside
"This gentleman who unfortunately lost his life... so, you knew he was there as well and still decided to set the fire," said Commissioner Phillips.
One tenant escaped from a first-floor window, but 72-year-old Willie Otis Greer died from smoke inhalation.
Greer's son says he was A family man that liked to joke around. He will miss Greer's smile.
Greer's family set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses in his unexpected death. Donations and updates are posted at https://www.gofundme.com/willieotisgreer
Wright told police she spoke to Greer right before she set the house on fire. Greer scolded her for fighting with her boyfriend.
In court, as Wright wiped her tears, the commissioner scolded her actions.
"The only solace in this situation is that he died from inhaling smoke rather than being burnt alive," said Commissioner Phillips.
The commissioner says he normally doesn't set bail as high as the $250,000 he set it at for Wright, but commented in this case "it's appropriate."