Three Suspects Ordered to Stand Trial in 1993 Westlake Fire That Killed 10, Including 7 Children

The scene of the 1993 Westlake district apartment fire that left 10 dead. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The scene of the 1993 Westlake district apartment fire that left 10 dead. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Three people suspected of igniting one of the city’s worst apartment fires — killing 10 people, seven of them children — must stand trial.

A judge on Friday ordered gang members Ramiro Valerio, Joseph Monge and Johanna Lopez to go to trial, the Associated Press reported. They have pleaded not guilty to murder charges that could carry the death penalty.

Authorities said the men were responsible for a 1993 blaze in Westlake, setting the fire as payback after a vigilant apartment manager took steps to discourage drug dealing inside the building.

Lopez, who was paying the notorious 18th Street Gang for the right to distribute crack cocaine in the neighborhood, enlisted the other two in a plot to set fire to the building, officials said.

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