TOLEDO, Ohio — A landlord charged Friday in the deaths of four tenants overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a portable generator said he was just trying to help the family by giving them a better place to live.
A grand jury indicted the home’s owner, Steven Snow, on four counts of reckless homicide. Investigators said he gave the generator to the family living in his two-story rental house because it didn’t have heat or electricity. They were using it to power a space heater.
Snow faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
“This is a sad situation all around the table,” he told The Associated Press on Friday. “I’m still grieving. This was the worst day of my life.”
Snow, 49, found the bodies of the woman and three young people last week in the home near downtown. Police said he removed the generator from the house before authorities arrived.
“If I could take that day back, I would,” he said. “We were like family to them.”
Snow said his wife had known one of the victims, 39-year-old Tamara McDaniel, for two decades.
“All I was trying to do was to give them a better house and a better place,” he said.
The victims likely died in their sleep, investigators said. They were found on the first floor near one another, but it didn’t appear as though they had been trying to escape, police said. Autopsies showed they died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The victims were McDaniel; Damien Reyes, 18; Domonique Reyes, 16; and Taralynn Wood, 10. Police were unsure of the relationship between the woman and the three others.
A neighbor, Lori Hill, said the four had moved into the rental home within the last few weeks.
The home had been empty for some time before the four moved to the neighborhood, she said. It sits next to an empty lot, and some of the aluminum siding had been stripped away.