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Woman charged with setting double fatal fire held without bail

A woman accused of intentionally setting a fire that killed two men in an East Side rooming house was arraigned in State Supreme Court Thursday morning and will be held without bail.

Al-Shariyfa Robinson, 40, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree arson in connection with an Oct. 10 blaze at 392 Curtiss St. Two men who lived in the house, James Hodges, 64, and Edward Hughes, 58, died in the fast-moving fire.

Nine other tenants managed to escape the fire, which was reported at about 4:35 a.m. Hodges, who had previously suffered a stroke, had difficulty walking, and Hughes relied on a wheelchair to get around, authorities said. They were found near a rear door of the 2½-story, wood-frame building.

Robinson was arrested Jan. 25. At some point her behavior changed while she was in custody and according to acting District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr., there was a court order to have her examined to see if she had the mental capacity to stand trial.

Two doctors who examined her determined that she was competent, he said, leading to Thursday’s arraignment.