News Releases

August 29, 2019: Woman Charged With Capital Murder of Brother, Sister Killed in Boarding Home Fire Near USC

Greg Risling, Assistant Chief
(213) 257-2000

A Los Angeles woman was charged today with murdering two people at a boarding home near the University of Southern California last week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Khala Swasey (dob 4/29/95) was charged in case BA480740 with two counts of murder with the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder in the commission of an arson. She is expected to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Holly Harpham of the Arson and Explosives Section is prosecuting the case.

On Aug. 22, a fire was reported about 12:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of West Leighton Avenue in Exposition Park. When firefighters responded, they pulled out two people from inside the burning home.

George Hills, 66, and his 53-year-old sister, Yolanda McGruder, died as a result of the fire at the residence. The defendant once lived there, the prosecutor said.

If convicted as charged, Swasey faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. A decision on whether to seek the death penalty will be made at a later date.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles City Fire Department’s Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section.