Man brought to AZ to face charges in 2016 Mesa arson and murder

Justin James Caruso.png
Posted at 12:45 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 14:45:45-05

MESA, AZ — A man has returned to Arizona to face charges in a 2016 murder and arson in Mesa.

Police say, Justin James Caruso, 34, was extradited to Arizona on Wednesday from Norfolk County Jail, outside of Boston, regarding a fatal arson fire on March 23, 2016.

Court records show that on that day, Joseph Chouinard, 74, was at a neighbor's home when he got word that his house, near Sossamon and Baseline roads, was on fire.

Chouinard went into the home to get his car keys but couldn't make it out of the home.

Court records show that witnesses broke a window and tried to pull him out, but he fell and was consumed by the flames.

Police say it was later learned that there were five suspicious fires in the area over the past few months.

Court records show that Caruso was the person who reported the fire on three of the five cases and was present at all five.

An arson dog was brought to the scene of the fatal fire and confirmed the use of accelerants in two areas of the home. The dog also allegedly found accelerants on Caruso's clothes, which were found in his bedroom.

Court records show that Caruso was arrested in June 2016 as a suspect in a fire in Barnstable, Massachusetts, at a home where he was visiting.

On February 10, 2020, a Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted Caruso for burglary, arson, manslaughter and first-degree murder. He is being held on a $1,000,000 bond.