Arrest made in murder of 66-year-old DC man found dead in Queen Street apartment fire

An arrest has been made in the death of a 66-year-old man who died under mysterious circumstances in January after a fire broke out inside his D.C. apartment.

Police have arrested 40-year-old Garrett Taylor, of Northeast D.C., on Friday and have charged him with first-degree murder of Awlachew Ayele.

On Jan. 26, Ayele was found dead inside his Northeast D.C. apartment on Queen Street. The 66-year-old died from blunt force trauma along with smoke and soot inhalation. In June, the medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide.

Ayele had been assaulted the night before the fire and Taylor was initially charged for the assault. That charge was later dropped and replaced with a charge of robbery. Taylor was held for a few months before being released on high intensity supervision.

According to Ayele's landlord, Ayele went to D.C. police the night before the fire to file a complaint. Ayele said drug dealers had taken over his apartment and he wanted them out. However, Ayele was assaulted outside his apartment later that night and his body discovered the following morning. A note was written on the wall that said, "You going down Ayele."

Fire investigators have said the fire at Ayele's apartment was intentionally set.