A man who set a fire that killed two people and severely injured two others inside a Studio City recording studio was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years to life in state prison, officials announced.
Efrem Zimbalist Demery, 31, of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest Wednesday to two counts of murder and one count of arson of a structure, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
On the morning of April 14, 2018, Demery used gasoline and a lighter he bought from a gas station across from Top Notch Recordings, located in the 3700 block of Cahuenga Boulevard, to set fire to the recording studio where two people were asleep.
Devaughn Carter, 28, and Michael Pollard, 30, were burned alive and two others, including a 15-year-old girl and a man in his 20s, were critically injured, officials said.
Both Carter and Pollard knew Demery and were believed to be his intended targets, police said at the time. The three men had been out together the day before the fire and were involved in some sort of confrontation of unknown origin.
Police said at least one of the men killed had been friends with Demery for several years.
Investigators said at the time that Demery poured gasoline inside the studio, ignited it and then fled out the back of the location. The accelerant was poured in a hallway near where the targeted victims were, and the two survivors were in a different room.
“Although the life sentence in this case does not bring back the victims, it does hold the defendant accountable for his deadly actions,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a written statement Wednesday. “My deepest sympathies go out to the families, whose lives were forever altered by this atrocious crime.”