One Week Later Residents Worry After JPSO Releases “Person Of Interest” In Deadly Arson

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.


METAIRIE (WGNO) – One week after a fire claims the lives of three people melted siding, and charred walls remain intact. It’s a grim and constant reminder haunting residents like Kelly Matthew.

“I’m depressed. I’ve been depressed. It’s a hard issue. I’m glad my place didn’t catch on fire,” says 49-year-old Matthew.

For the family of 33-year-old Dennis Murphy the scene is practically too much to handle. They’ve come to Harvard Avenue in Metairie from Baton Rouge to leave behind flowers and a balloon. Murphy was one of three killed in the blaze.

“Unfortunately it hasn’t been a week for us. We just got a call yesterday because they had trouble identifying him,” says Danielle Rumpf.

At around 4 a.m. last Tuesday investigators say someone used accelerant to set the steps leading to the apartment on fire. They were the only way out.

66-year-old resident James Norwood says, “We all know who did it, but they seem like they can’t bring him to get the evidence that they need to arrest him.”

WGNO cameras were rolling as 58-year-old Terrill Normard was taken into custody. Neighbors believe Normand is responsible. They say he was evicted months ago, but continues to cause problems.

Last week Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said Terrill was infatuated with one of the victims. The Sheriff seemed confident in an arrest in connection with the deadly arson saying, “We expect, unless there’s some circumstance that we’re not aware of, that there could be the charge of first degree murder.”

Investigators say Terrill Normand was arrested for two traffic attachments. They say he’s posted bond and while he remains a “Person of Interest” JPSO authorities say he was released due to overcrowding at the jail.

Now residents at the apartments on the 2300 block of Harvard Avenue feel they’re at risk.

“Everybody has been worried around here. Whoever is still here. I mean he’s crazy,” says Matthew.

“I hope they bring the one to justice that did this. I think they had they had the person that did it, but they let him go,” says Norwood.

One woman and two men were killed in the fire. Another man jumped out the window and is recovering.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office is still calling Terrill Normand a “Person of Interest” in the fatal arson. They have not named him a suspect.