| Crime |

Young Champions Arson Case Nets Another Guilty Plea; One Suspect Still Charged with Murder

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Jonathan Antonucci, (at right), one of three suspects in a deadly fire at the Young Champions of America building in Phoenix, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson.

Like Moniza Murillo, who took a plea in the case a few weeks ago, Antonucci got a break from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. The initial charges for both suspects included first-degree murder. The third suspect, Jeffrey Otto, still faces that higher charge.

Antonucci and Murillo, both former karate instructors for Young Champions, helped another instructor to burn down the building to destroy evidence of embezzlement. That instructor, Joshua Robinson, 28, died in the blaze.

Antonucci's has big dreams; he started his own karate company with his brother a couple of weeks before his arrest. In blog posts on a Web site for the company, Antonucci talks of reading the Bible while incarcerated in the Maricopa County jail and hints that there's more to his story than has yet come out.

"The good Lord and I both know the truth," Antonucci writes.

His sentencing is set for January 10, court records show -- about a month after Murillo's sentencing date.


UPDATE: Correction -- This post initially stated that Antonucci started his company after his arrest.

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