New York nurse Ted Maher was
convicted in the Monaco arson death of his billionaire employer, banker
(born June 9, 1958, Auburn, Maine) is an American registered nurse (an
ex-Green Beret) convicted of arson in a 1999 fire that killed Edmond
Safra and a nurse, Vivian Torrente, at Safra’s Penthouse apartment in
Monaco. In October 2007 Maher was released after serving eight years in
jail. In television interviews after release, he has maintained his
Ted Maher was born in Maine and lived there and in
California before his family settled in Upstate New York when he was 12.
After serving a stint in the army in the mid-1970s, the former Green
Beret received nursing degrees from Dutchess County Community College
and Pace University. A brief marriage produced a son, Chris, now 18.
While studying at the Dutchess County Community
College Maher met his third wife, Heidi Wustrau. The couple lost contact
for two years but started dating in 1991 while both attended Pace
University and worked at Columbia Medical Center of New York
Presbyterian Hospital. They wed on December 12, 1993 and the marriage
produced two more children, Ian, 11, and Amber, 9. The family made their
home in Stormville, N.Y., about 70 miles north of Manhattan.
While working as a registered nurse at the neonatal
unit at the Columbia Medical Center, Maher developed film from a camera
he found left behind in a discharged patient's room. The camera's owners,
Laura and Harry Slatkin, were grateful to retrieve the first photographs
of their newborn twins. Harry Slatkin offered Ted the "job of a lifetime."
Shortly thereafter Maher interviewed with the personal assistant to
Edmond Safra, a banker and billionaire based in Monaco who required
private nursing care for Parkinson's and other ailments."
According to Heidi Maher, the Safras liked that Ted
was an ex-Green Beret and thought he could be both a bodyguard and a
nurse. The Safras offered Ted Maher a contract at $600 per day, more
money than he had ever made, but he’d have to leave for Monaco right
away. With a hospital strike looming and legal bills mounting from a
visitation battle with his ex-wife regarding his oldest son, Maher
ultimately accepted the job in early August.
Edmond Safra's death
Safra, the 67-year-old founder and principal stock
owner of the Republic National Bank of New York, had Parkinson's disease
and required constant care. On Dec 3rd 1999, Maher was scheduled at the
last minute to work the overnight shift caring for Safra with Vivian
Torrente (one of eight nurses who looked after Safra) at Safra's Monaco
penthouse at La Belle Epoque, a four-story bank and two-story flat at 17
Avenue D'Ostende. Here is the chronology of events that took place that
4.49 a.m. Monitoring station detects a Fire alarm
from Safra’s apartment.
5:00 a.m. Dialing the cellphone Maher gave her,
Torrente calls head nurse Sonia Casiano from Safra's dressing room to
ask her to call police. She informs Casiano that Maher is injured.
Five more calls are made by Torrente during the next 90 minutes.
5:12 a.m. The first police officers arrive in the
lobby of the building. Police begin organizing a floor by floor search
5:20 a.m. Maher is transported to Princess Grace
Hospital for treatment of stab wounds.
5:24 a.m. Passers by and neighbours begin flooding
emergency phone lines with reports of seeing smoke from the building.
5:30 a.m. Torrente makes fourth call to Casiano
from the cellphone. She does not mention any smoke. Safra appears calm
but requests police intervention.
6:15 a.m. Firefighters begin battling the blaze.
6:30 a.m. Torrente, losing consciousness, makes her
sixth and final call from the cellphone. Safra is heard coughing in
7:45 a.m. Firefighters gain access to the locked
dressing room on the top floor of the penthouse and discover the
bodies of Edmond Safra and Vivian Torrente.
Immediately after his arrest Maher
claimed two intruders had gained access to the apartment and that he had
fought them off, receiving stab wounds. He had informed the other nurse,
Vivian Torrente, of the assailants and had given her his cell phone to
call for help. He ordered her to take Edmond Safra into the secure
dressing room while he went to the nearby nursing station, where he lit
toilet paper in a trash basket to set off a smoke alarm, with the
intention of alerting outside people that there was a problem. Maher
then made his way, bleeding and feeling faint, downstairs to the lobby
of the building to get help. But while police and firemen got to the
building, they didn’t get to Edmond Safra and Vivian Torrente until it
was too late.
A few days later on December 7, Monaco's chief
prosecutor, Daniel Serdet, announced that Maher had confessed to
starting the fire "to draw attention to himself" as he was "jealous" of
Mr. Safra's seven other nurses. In addition, his stab wounds had been
self-inflicted. Maher had slashed himself twice with his own switchblade
- once in the thigh and once in the stomach - to corroborate his story
about the intruders. On December 6 Safra was buried in Geneva.
Trail and conviction
The case was a sensation for Monaco, a tiny
Mediterranean principality better known for sumptuous casinos, Formula
One racing and tax breaks that attract the world's rich and famous. The
riviera’s leading newspaper, Nice Matin, dubbed it Monaco's "Trial of
During his trial, Maher confessed to setting the
blaze but said he never expected the fire to rage out of control and
that the fire was part of a bizarre plan to ingratiate himself with
Safra. Maher testified that he’d started the blaze in a small
wastebasket, expecting it to set off a fire alarm that would bring help
and allow him to reap the credit for saving his employer.
There had also been friction between
himself and Sonia Herkrath, Safra’s head nurse. Though not technically
Maher's boss, Herkrath had control of the nurses' work schedule and
could make their lives difficult if she didn't like them. And she didn't
like Maher, whom she considered just another "flavor of the month," who
had gotten into Safra's good graces by returning a camera a friend
forgot in New York six months earlier. Herkrath was allegedly
responsible for the departure of 17 other nurses in the previous 16
months, and Maher did not want to become number 18. He believed she was
intentionally providing him with wrong information, causing him to make
mistakes that had not gone unnoticed, and she frequently altered his
scheduled between day and night shifts with little or no notice.
Fearing the loss of his well-paid job, just six weeks
after arriving in Monaco, Maher hatched the idea of setting the fire to
ingratiate himself with his boss and earn a promotion. The prosecution
described how Maher cut himself with a knife and then set a fire in a
wastepaper basket. He called for rescue and told authorities that two
masked intruders were in the apartment. But rather than extinguish the
fire, Maher let it spread, the prosecution charged, leading to the two
deaths. Prosecutors also said that his tale about intruders delayed the
work of firefighters.
American lawyer Michael Griffith, who had previously
represented Billy Hayes - an American whose escape from a Turkish jail
inspired the motion picture "Midnight Express" - volunteered to assist
with Ted Maher’s defense. Griffith based their defense on the notion
that, whilst Ted did set the fire, he never intended to harm anyone. “It
was a stupid, most insane thing a human being could do,” says Griffith.
“He did not intend to kill Mr. Safra. He just wanted Mr. Safra to
appreciate him more. He loved Mr. Safra. This was the best job of his
Maher maintained that the deaths of Safra and
Torrente would have been averted if police had not blocked firefighters
from launching a rescue attempt until long after Maher was rushed to a
hospital. Lawyers for Safra's widow, Lily, argued Maher should be judged
for his actions, not his intentions.
In December 2002 Maher was convicted in the arson
deaths of Edmond Safra and Vivian Torrente and sentenced to 10 years in
prison. The prosecution had requested 12 years in prison for Maher. The
charges carried a maximum penalty of life in prison. "He directly caused
the deaths of Mrs. Torrente and Mr. Safra," said head prosecutor Daniel
Serdet. "He trapped the victims."
On the final day of his trial Maher
called Safra "the best employer I ever had," and said he did not mean to
cause his death or the death of the other nurse. "What's happened is and
always will be a terrible accident", reiterating earlier testimony, in
the hours before the verdict. Maher's wife was in court, as was Safra's
Less than two months after being sentenced, on 22
January 2003 Ted Maher and his cellmate, an Italian awaiting trial in
Monaco on charges stemming from a robbery, sawed through the bars on
their cell, and then, using a rope made of black garbage bags, climbed
out and escaped overnight. Maher made it 15 miles to Nice, where he
holed up in a hotel and made telephone contact with people in the US,
including his wife, his lawyer and his priest; they gave him up to the
police, who apprehended him seven hours later.
Parallels were drawn between Maher's escape and the
one carried out by Billy Hayes, a previous client of Griffith, who had
also made a daring escape while being held in an overseas prison in
1975. In Hayes's case, he was facing life in prison for possession of
hashish, and, risking getting shot on sight, he escaped from a Turkish
prison and made his way to Greece and freedom.
Release and Interview on Court TV
Maher served an additional nine months which were
added to his sentence for escape. He was released in October 2007 and
returned to the United States. In a series of interviews on
American Court TV, Maher maintained his pretrial statements were
coerced, threats were made against his family by authorities, and to
this day maintains his innocence. The late Dominick Dunne did
comprehensive investigations on the case for courtroom television and
was not completely convinced that Ted Maher was responsible for Safra’s
death. Dunne's doubt centered on the fact that it took two and half
hours for firefighters to reach Safra and his nurse. How so, wondered
Dunne, especially when Edmond Safra’s wife Lily (who was in her bedroom
on the other end of the apartment) was somehow able to get out? These
two holes in the facts surrounding the case did not make any sense to
Maher was imprisoned in Monaco for over two years
before his trial began, resulting in a considerable amount of
controversy and speculation surrounding the case. Days before his death,
Safra finalized the sale of his Republic National Bank to HSBC Holdings
plc for billions. He was a jet-setter who kept company with statesmen
like Shimon Peres, the former prime minister of Israel. But his business
made him some potent enemies as well. In 1998 his Republic Bank made a
report to the F.B.I. that began an investigation into the possibility of
a vast Russian money laundering that came to focus on the Bank of New
York and ultimately helped break a $6bn crime ring.
The increasingly security conscious Safra employed a
small army of guards, said to be trained in Israel by intelligence units.
None of his security team were, however, on duty on the night of the
fire, which both enabled Maher to carry out the arson attack and
hampered police and firefighters' efforts to gain access to his heavily
fortified penthouse. Upon arrest, Maher initially fabricated the story
that two intruders had penetrated the apartment and that he had fought
them off, receiving stab wounds. This cover story, combined with Safra's
involvements with the F.B.I., quickly led to rumours that the incident
had been a well-executed Russian mob hit, leaving Maher as the patsy.
Once the trial was underway, however, Maher's own
testimony claimed that he had acted alone, motivated by self-interest
and paranoia and specifically out of fear of losing his highly rewarding
job. This claim was later repudiated, and Maher alleged he was forced to
confess during his initial hospitalization.
Allegations in 2007 by Judge Jean-Christophe Hullin
that the outcome of the trial itself had been manipulated or fixed
through collusion between Hullin, chief investigative judge on the case,
along with Monaco's chief prosecutor and a member of Maher's state-appointed
defence team remain unresolved.
American nurse faces charges in the
death of billionaire Edmond Safra
June 21, 2001
STORMVILLE, N.Y. — As a steady rain falls
outside, 3-year-old Amber Maher and her brothers Ian, 5, and Chris, 12,
amuse themselves quietly in the living room of their grandparents' tidy
ranch-style home deep in the woods off Interstate 84.
The children's mother, Heidi Maher, settles into a
wooden chair at the dining room table. Ignoring bagels in favor of a
Diet Coke, the 30-year-old daughter of a retired IBM manager plays
nervously with her husband Ted's gold wedding band on her own ring
She wipes the tears from her brown eyes.
For the children, it's the second straight Father's
Day without their dad, a 43-year-old registered nurse who delivered Ian
and Amber. For Heidi, it is Day 561 of an ordeal that began with a
frantic telephone call from Tammy Evans, Ted's younger sister.
"She said, 'What's Ted's boss's name?'" Heidi,
regaining her composure, recalled of the early morning conversation on
Dec. 3, 1999. "I said, 'Why?' She said she was watching TV and there was
a billionaire, and there was a fire and he and a nurse died. I said, 'Oh,
my God. Ted died.'"
Heidi Maher eventually learned that her husband
wasn't dead. Ted Maher was alive, recovering from two stab wounds in a
hospital in Monaco, 4,000 miles away. Another nurse, Vivian Torrente,
was the one who died in the early morning blaze that also claimed the
life of 67-year-old banker Edmond Safra.
The deaths made international headlines. Safra was
one of the world's richest and most-powerful men. The Jewish
philanthropist died from carbon monoxide fumes created by the fire that
gutted the upper floors of the luxurious penthouse apartment where the
billionaire and his wife Lily — dubbed "The Gilded Lily" by the European
press — lived when they were in Monaco, the postage stamp-sized
principality south of France on the Mediterranean Sea.
Some early news accounts hailed Ted Maher as a hero.
From the smallest weekly newspapers here in upstate New York to the
largest of London's many tabloids, media outlets worldwide were
reporting that the former special forces Green Beret gave Edmond Safra
and Torrente his cellphone and told them to hide from masked intruders
who attacked him. Maher then stumbled into the lobby bleeding to report
that two masked intruders had attacked him with a knife on the fifth
But the story soon took a hard right turn.
Three days after the fire, Monaco's chief prosecutor
announced that Ted Maher, the male nurse, was the villain not the hero
in this tale. He said Maher confessed in writing to starting the fire
with a scented candle and admitted stabbing himself with a pocketknife
to cast suspicion on intruders who did not exist.
The motive? According to prosecutor Daniel Serdet,
Maher wanted to ingratiate himself with his wealthy patient and employer
because he was not getting along with his supervisor, Sonia Casiano.
Monaco authorities were describing a depressed, mentally unstable man
who started a blaze in a waste basket in the nurse's station to win
favor with Safra, a Beirut-born banking mogul who founded Republic
National Bank of New York.
Heidi Maher could not, and would not, believe it. The
man they were describing was not the man she met in nursing class at
Dutchess County Community College in 1988, fell in love with and married
on Dec. 12, 1993.
"He is kind and gentle. He's not prone to anger," she
Heidi knew Ted Maher as a devoted family man who
dedicated his life to the care of premature babies at Columbia
Presbyterian Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital.
In an interview at her parent's home, Heidi Maher
told Court TV on June 17 that her blond, blue-eyed husband of seven
years remains steadfast in his insistence that he is a scapegoat for
Monaco police officials, whose decisions impeded the work of
firefighters called to La Belle Epoque, Safra's four-story bank and two-story
flat at 17 Avenue D'Ostende.
A Monaco judge, Chief Examining Magistrate Patricia
Richet, is serving essentially as a one-person grand jury who decides
which charges Ted Maher will face. Richet is expected to finish her
investigation and issue a report sometime this summer or early fall to a
three-judge panel who, along with three civilian advisers, will try Ted
Maher. The trial could be held this fall or winter. If he is tried for "arson
causing death," he would face life imprisonment if convicted.
Timeline Key to Case
Ted Maher's actions the morning Safra died and what
police did and did not do to save the banker-philanthropist and his
nurse will likely be central issues at the trial, which is expected to
garner international media attention.
Did Maher start the fire that took the life of his
nursing colleague and Safra, who entrusted Maher with his life? Maher
says he lit some wastepaper on fire with a candle and held it to a smoke
alarm to bring firefighters and police, whom he believed would encounter
Were Maher's knife wounds (one took 100 staples to
close) self-inflicted? Authorities believe that Maher's nursing and
military training made him capable of inflicting the non-life
threatening injuries on himself, which he vehemently denies.
What about other suspects? It was widely reported
that Safra's bank blew the whistle on money laundering by the Russian
mafia. Did police do anything to investigate whether Maher was telling
the truth about intruders, or get to the bottom of why Safra's
bodyguards, most former Israeli intelligence agents, were given the
night off by Lily Safra, who escaped the fire?
And what about the alleged intruders? Only Ted Maher
reported seeing them, but there are unanswered questions about why the
elaborate security surveillance system in the residence was inoperable
on the night of the fire.
New York attorney Michael Griffith, part of Maher's
defense team, says Maher may be the perfect patsy. The lawyer said he
can see no scenario under which Maher should be held criminally
responsible for the loss of two lives he claims he was trying to save.
"His claim is he set the fire to alert the fire
department. Our position is that because of the interference,
malfeasance and nonfeasance of the police, the fire department did not
get into Safra's bedroom/fortress until 7:45 a.m.," said Griffith, who
represented Billy Hayes, the real-life protagonist of the film
"If the police had acted properly and allowed the
fire department to do their job, the deaths never would have occurred,"
Ted Maher referred to the botched rescue in a recent
letter to the head of Monaco's constitutional monarchy, Prince Rainier
III, husband of the late American actress Grace Kelly.
"I have always stated that I accept my limited part
of responsibility in the tragedy, but I do not want to be the scapegoat
for the slowness of the fire and police rescue efforts," he wrote. "I
was taken to the Monaco hospital at 5:20 a.m. and Mr. Safra and Vivian
Torrente died after 6:30 a.m. ... I am neither an arsonist nor a
The chronology of events are central to Maher's
defense, which is two-pronged.
Maher's lawyers claim he was arrested on the basis of
a coerced confession that was typed in French, which he does not speak
or read, and presented after Heidi Maher was held incommunicado for
three days. But even if it were found that Ted started the fire that
deprived Safra and Torrente of oxygen, ending their lives, rescuers had
more than 90 minutes to save the victims, his lawyers argue.
The first indication of trouble at Safra's residence
came at 4:49 a.m. on Dec. 3, 1999, when an automated fire alarm report
was received by a private monitoring station. A short time later, police
were called from the building concierge when Maher stumbled into the
lobby bleeding, saying that intruders had attacked him on the fifth
At 5 a.m., Vivian Torrente used the cellphone Maher
gave her to frantically ask a friend to call police; she and Safra, who
suffered from Parkinson's disease and other ailments requiring around-the-clock
care, were hiding in a locked dressing room on the sixth floor of the
20-room duplex apartment.
The first emergency services workers arrived before
5:30 a.m. but police, believing that intruders might still be inside,
insisted that the residence be searched thoroughly before firefighters
were allowed in. Firefighting efforts were impeded until 6:15 a.m., but
by then the fire was raging.
Access to the super-secure penthouse became a problem
in the confusion, although Safra's butler was there and had keys.
Safra's security chief offered keys too, but was briefly handcuffed by
police officers who didn't know who was Safra's friend or foe.
Flames spread from the nursing station to the attic
and then to other parts of the residence. Authorities believe Safra and
Torrente were overcome by carbon monoxide from air ducts about 6:30 a.m.
When they were discovered dead at 7:45 a.m., Safra was found seated in a
red armchair and Torrente was curled up on a leopard-skin carpet.
Safra, who surrounded himself with bodyguards and
double-paned glass that firefighters could not penetrate, may have been
a victim of his own obsession with security. In fact, a six-month
investigation by two court-appointed fire experts suggested, without
specifically saying so, that Safra and his nurse might still by alive if
not for the elaborate security arrangements and decisions made at the
time of the fire by police.
"The duration of the intervention of the emergency
services was abnormally long for a limited-scale fire ... [T]he police
and fire brigade had delayed taking into account the information
provided by the two fire protection services, the police having favored
the implausible scenario of attack," Henry Viellard and Ghislaine Reiss
wrote in their report, which was translated into English and published
on a Web site created by Maher's brother, Michael Maher.
Ted Maher believes he is being railroaded and has
asked his wife not to attend the trial. With three children to care for
and working double shifts at an undisclosed hospital where other nurses
don't know her true identity, Heidi Maher isn't sure whether she wants
to go back to Monaco anyway. She still has vivid memories of being
whisked off to a police station and then a hotel, interrogated and
having her passport taken away by people who — she says in pre-action
legal papers filed in New York State Supreme Court — showed it to Ted to
get him to sign the confession.
"Ted doesn't want me there. He doesn't think it is
going to turn out good," she said. "I want to be there for Ted, but I
don't know. I just want my husband home where he belongs. I don't care
how, but I want it to happen now, not years from now."
Heidi Maher added, "This man is definitely worth
The Hunger Strike
Heidi Maher recently returned from a rushed and
hushed trip to Monaco with a lawyer and Ted Maher's mother, Elayne Maher,
to persuade her husband to end a hunger strike protesting harassing,
closed-court interrogations by Richet.
In early May, Ted stopped accepting food from his
guards at the hilltop prison where he is being held, sustaining himself
only on liquids. He was transferred to the psychiatric wing of Princess
Grace Hospital, where he was kept under 24-hour guard as the protest
Defense lawyer Michael Griffith learned of the hunger
strike from Ted Maher's court-appointed Monegasque lawyer, who wanted it
stopped. Griffith, Heidi Maher and Elayne Maher flew to Monaco on short
notice to persuade Ted that he wasn't helping his case and was probably
irritating a judge who would help decide his fate.
Heidi said she was strip-searched before being
allowed to enter a small hospital room where her husband, dressed only
in a hospital gown, was confined.
She noticed that his 6-foot-1-inch frame appeared
considerably lighter, and his blond hair had turned white. A guard
pulled out his sidearm and stood between the couple after Heidi rushed
forward to hug her husband for the first time in 18 months. It took
Heidi three more visits and a promise by the prison to deliver Ted's
letter to Prince Rainier, to get Ted to end his 11-day hunger strike.
In the May 17 letter, first reported in author-journalist
Dominick Dunne's article in the July issue of Vanity Fair, Ted
Maher wrote that he will no longer subject himself to questioning by
"I have collaborated to the full extent of my ability
for more than 500 days. I will not be brought forth for interrogation by
her for the sole person of being harassed, demeaned or ridiculed," the
Toward the end of the letter the prisoner hinted that
he might entertain a deal to lesser charges.
"I am not asking for any special treatment or favors.
I am only asking for what is right: that the charges be reduced to their
just proportion as Judge Richet knows they should be," Ted told Rainier.
"I must ask you this for the sake of my wife and my three little
Ted's wife knew about the planned hunger strike and
endorsed it, confident that Ted would make his point without harming
"I supported his starting it and supported his ending
it," Heidi said of the hunger strike. "He did it out of protest, not out
of depression at all."
Griffith thought the hunger strike was a bad move
from the moment he learned about it.
"I was very concerned that his action would be
detrimental to his relationship with the judge in the courtroom," the
lawyer said. "I tried to impress upon him and stress that you don't want
to piss off the person who controls the keys to the jailhouse door."
American convicted in arson killing of billionaire
Dec. 5, 2002
MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) — An American
male nurse was convicted Monday in the arson deaths of
billionaire banker Edmond Safra and a nurse, and
sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Ted Maher was convicted of arson leading to death.
The 1999 fire
in this wealthy Mediterranean enclave also killed one of Safra's
other nurses, Vivian Torrente.
The prosecution had requested 12 years in prison for
charges carried a maximum penalty of life in prison.
"He directly caused the deaths of Mrs. Torrente and
Mr. Safra," said head prosecutor Daniel Serdet. "He trapped
The defense said Maher -- who admitted setting the
fire -- did not intend for Safra and the nurse to die. His
intention was merely to trigger the fire alarm and pose as
"Stupidity is reprehensible, but it is not a crime,"
Setton, one of the defense lawyers, said in closing arguments.
Although Maher was convicted of the top charge listed
in the indictment, arson causing deaths, the jury of three judges and
three citizens sentenced Maher to serve only 10 years in prison. Maher
will not be eligible for parole for at least a year, according to an
adviser to the defense team.
"We are not dissatisified. I'd say this is a victory,"
Michael Griffith of New York, who has been advising Maher's lawyers,
told Courttv.com by phone from Monaco.
Griffith said the jury deliberated for less than two
hours before issuing its finding. He said Maher's wife, Heidi Maher,
cried when the verdict was announced. The defendant was whisked from the
courtroom quickly, Griffith said.
The fire and trial have been a sensation in Monaco,
itself with providing a safe, security and luxurious environment
for the rich and famous in this Mediterranean enclave.
For most of Monday's session, Maher sat still in the
dock, looking gaunt and tired as he listened to a translation
of the proceedings from French into English. Toward the end
of the day, he gave a tearful final word in his own defense.
He called Safra "the best employer I ever had," and
said he did not mean to cause his death or the death of the
"What's happened is and always will be a terrible
accident," said the former Green Beret, reiterating earlier
testimony, in the hours before the verdict.
Maher's wife was in court, as was Safra's widow.
Safra, the 67-year-old founder and principal stock
owner of the
Republic National Bank of New York, had Parkinson's disease and
required constant care.
He paid Maher $600 a day. Maher, originally from
told prosecutors it was "the most beautiful job" he had ever had.
But Maher also said Safra's chief nurse belittled him
feared losing his job. Just six weeks after arriving in Monaco, he
hatched the idea of setting the fire to ingratiate himself with his
boss and earn a promotion.
In testimony, Maher called the Dec. 3, 1999, blaze a
accident" and said he never meant to harm his employer.
Lawyers for Safra's widow, Lily, say Maher should be
his actions, not his intentions.
On Monday, the prosecutor described how Maher cut
himself with a
knife and then set a fire in a wastepaper basket. He called for
rescue and told authorities that two masked intruders were in the
But rather than extinguish the fire, Maher let it
prosecution charged, leading to the two deaths. Prosecutors also
said that his tale about intruders delayed the work of