Fire victim’s brother charged with murder, arson

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 28, 2017 | Updated May 1, 2017 5:43pm

 A teen died as a result of an early morning house fire on Bloomingdale April 28.

A teen died as a result of an early morning house fire on Bloomingdale April 28.

Photo provided by the Sterling Heights Fire Department

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Police have arrested the brother of a Sterling Heights teen who died April 28 in an incident that police and firefighters suspect was an arson-caused house fire.

According to a city press release, firefighters from stations 1, 2 and 5 were reportedly deployed to a fire early in the morning in the 42000 block of Bloomingdale Drive, located near 19 Mile and Ryan roads. They learned that a 17-year-old was trapped in a second-floor bedroom above the first-floor fire.

Using a ladder, firefighters got to the teen and started to treat him outside before he was taken to Beaumont Hospital Troy, and he was later declared to be dead. The Fire Department said toxins from smoke could have seeped through an open bedroom door.
Two more family members also reportedly went to the hospital for smoke inhalation, and the father was taken to DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital. No firefighters were injured, the city said.

The SHFD said it put out the fire quickly, and police and fire are investigating the matter as an arson incident. Sterling Heights police have identified the deceased victim as Matthew Marroki, 17, from Sterling Heights.

According to Utica Community Schools spokesman Tim McAvoy, the victim was a student at the Utica Academy for International Studies.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” McAvoy said in an email. “The school counselors, along with assistance from the district, have been working directly with our students to support them during this difficult time. They will be available to our students for as long as necessary.”

According to Sterling Heights police Lt. David Sarvello, a suspect was arrested shortly after police investigated the incident April 28. On May 1, the suspect was arraigned and identified as the victim’s brother — Mark Marroki, 20, from Sterling Heights.

According to a representative from 41-A District Court in Sterling Heights, Marroki was charged with three felony counts: homicide felony murder, first-degree arson, and arson in preparation to burn a dwelling resulting in injury.

The court representative said no bond was set at the arraignment. The matter has been referred to a forensic center for a competency exam, and no further court date has been arranged yet.

Marroki’s listed attorney, Andrew Kassab, did not respond for comment by press time.
Sarvello said the suspect “did have some conversations with the investigators,” but police did not reveal any possible motive that they believe could’ve been behind the incident.
“We don't have anything that is concrete right now,” he said.

Sarvello added that there was evidence that accelerants had been used at the scene, and details about that could become clearer when lab results come back from the Michigan State Police.

Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin called the criminal investigation a police matter and declined to comment on what led the department to conclude that the incident was arson.
“We received a statement about what happened, and it matched with the evidence on the scene,” Martin said, adding that the information came from the family members.

City officials believe that the home’s occupants were not tipped off by smoke detectors, and the fire marshal is looking further into that. The SHFD urges residents to keep their detectors functioning in good condition.

Anyone who has more information about this incident is encouraged to call the Sterling Heights Police Department at (586) 446-2800.

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