A federal prosecutor says a New Haven developer practiced "urban redevelopment by fire" as his trial began on charges related to a series of arsons.
The New Haven Register reports Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul McConnell told jurors in his opening statement Thursday that Angelo Reyes orchestrated the torching of four properties to collect on insurance claims.
But defense attorney John R. Williams said the properties were underinsured. He says one of the four burned buildings was starting to generate a profit and Reyes "had every motive to protect that property."
Williams says the 47-year-old Reyes tried to improve the New Haven neighborhood.
Prosecutors charged Reyes with wire fraud, aiding and abetting, conspiracy and destruction of property used in interstate commerce by fire and use of fire to commit a federal felony.
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