ROCKVILLE, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A Bethesda man has been found guilty in connection with a deadly fire that burned in a network of tunnels beneath his home in 2017.
FOX 5’s Paul Wagner says Daniel Beckwitt began gasping and weeping when he learned that the jury had found him guilty of second-degree depraved heart murder and involuntary manslaughter on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said that Beckwitt was responsible for creating the hazardous conditions that led to the death of 21-year-old Askia Khafra in 2017.
Over the two-week trial, the jury saw numerous photos showing extreme hoarding conditions inside the Cape Cod house that stood over the bunkers and an extensive network of secret tunnels.
Prosecutors say the conditions were so bad that Khafra had no way out when the fire broke out in the basement of the home – conditions created by a millionaire who valued secrecy over safety.
But the defense says it was all an accident, and that Khafra had been working in the house and tunnels for months and knew his way around.
They say that the 21-year-old’s death was an accident.
Beckwitt will be sentenced on Monday, June 17.