The Latest: Jury convicts man in bunker fire death at home


ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a wealthy stock trader in a bunker fire death at his Maryland home (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

A jury has convicted a wealthy stock trader of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the fire death of a man who was helping him secretly dig tunnels for an underground nuclear bunker beneath his Maryland home.

Jurors deliberated for roughly 12 hours before returning their verdict late Wednesday in the case of 27-year-old stock trader Daniel Beckwitt.

Beckwitt had been charged with both offenses in the September 2017 death of 21-year-old Askia Khafra. Beckwitt did not testify at his trial, which lasted nearly two weeks.

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The fire erupted as Khafra was digging tunnels under Beckwitt’s Bethesda home, which was littered with piles of garbage.

A prosecutor accused Beckwitt of recklessly endangering Khafra’s life and sacrificing safety for secrecy. Defense attorney Robert Bonsib told jurors the fire was an accident, not a crime.


3:20 p.m.

A jury has apparently reached a verdict on one of two counts against a wealthy stock broker charged in the fire death of a man who was helping him dig tunnels for a nuclear bunker beneath a Maryland home.

In a note Wednesday to the judge, jurors said they’ve reached an agreement on one of the counts but are at an impasse on the other charge against 27-year-old Daniel Beckwitt. The note doesn’t indicate which charge they can’t agree on.

Beckwitt is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 2017 death of 21-year-old Askia Khafra.

The judge instructed the jurors to keep deliberating.

Defense attorney Robert Bonsib has said Khafra’s death was an accident, not a crime. But Montgomery County prosecutor Marybeth Ayres said Beckwitt sacrificed safety for secrecy and created the conditions that prevented Khafra from escaping the fire.

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