Father accused of killing his three children in deadly fire appears before judge

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:01 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Joseph Washington, charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his three children, appeared in court Thursday afternoon (Nov. 16). He’s accused of setting his ex-wife’s house on fire on America Street with the kids inside.

Family members and neighbors of the victims attended the hearing to support the kids and their mother.

The burnt home is now surrounded by a chain-link fence, with a memorial on the front lawn. Neighbor Kim Gonzales, who tried to save the children, said, “We don’t want people to forget this tragedy. What happened that night was just a news story for many people, but for the people in this neighborhood, it happened to us too.”

Gonzales and her husband are committed to supporting the children’s mother by attending court hearings. She described the crime as heinous.


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The defense filed motions to preserve certain items as evidence. The district attorney argued these items, related to Washington’s work as a mechanic, were irrelevant to the crime.

“I’m saying right now I don’t believe those items have any evidentiary value. This gentleman was a mechanic and having items that you would have to fix a car have no relevance to the horrific crimes he committed,” said DA Jason Williams.

Nearly a month after the fire, the community continues supporting by bringing toys and writing letters to the mother.

Neighbors have already pitched in to help with donations and you can contact them through the Facebook post below.

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