Westchester man found dead in burned out Brooklyn building was murdered, police say


NEW YORK – A Mount Vernon man who was pulled from a burned-out building at 494 Jefferson Avenue in Brooklyn on Monday, March 16, was the victim of a homicide, NYPD say.

When the fire was extinguished, Jonathan Blake, 55, of Mount Vernon was found in the basement unconscious and unresponsive with severe burns.

His cause of death was determined to be a homicide and a Brooklyn man was taken into custody for questioning.

Following an ongoing investigation, Derek Whitaker, 54, was charged with tampering with a witness, arson, concealment of a human corpse and hindering prosecution.

The investigation is continuing.

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