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City man charged with murder in connection with fatal New London fire

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New London — Police say they have arrested a 60-year-old local man on murder and arson charges for setting a March 29 fire on Blackhall Street that claimed the life of a city man.

James McKinnon of 70 Farmington Ave. was charged with arson murder and first-degree arson - both felonies - following what police said was a lengthy investigation. Police secured an arrest warrant for McKinnon and took him into custody on Sunday with the help of Manchester police.

He was held in lieu of a $1 million bond and was arraigned Monday in New London Superior Court. Court records show he was also arraigned Monday on charges of second-degree robbery, breach of peace and third-degree larceny. Details on those charges were not available.  

Police said the fire McKinnon is accused of starting occurred at 5:45 a.m. on March 29. The two-alarm fire tore through the multi-family home at 40 Blackhall St.

Four people were displaced by the fire and Robert Wood, 63, was seriously injured. Wood had been pulled out of the home by firefighters and treated at Bridgeport Hospital but died from his injuries on April 20.

McKinnon, who has various other pending criminal charges and convictions, is due to appear in New London’s Part A court on Dec. 9. McKinnon was sentenced earlier this year to 15 months in prison for the attempted robbery of the Charter Oak Federal Credit Union branch on Route 1 in Waterford in October of 2019.

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