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Wealthy Man Indicted After Fire in His Secret Tunnels Under His House Exposes Secret

A wealthy stock trader who was having a network of secret underground tunnels built in his home has been indicted for second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. A man that was hired to help dig the tunnels perished last year when a deadly fire broke out as he worked underground.

The family of the deceased say they knew about the project and were worried something would go wrong. They're hoping justice is served.

Daniel Beckwitt, a 27-year-old Washington D.C. resident who made millions from day trading stocks, will face charges in the death of his 21-year-old acquaintance, Askia Khafra. Mr. Khafra died in a fire that broke out in the massive network of tunnels under Beckwitt's home.

Khafra was helping to dig the tunnels, and in exchange the millionaire was investing in Khafra's new internet company.

Beckwitt feared that a nuclear attack from North Korea was inevitable, and he wanted to build secret underground bunkers under his home for protection. He kept the tunnels a secret from almost everyone, but he needed help building them.

He met Khafra online, and the two men struck a deal. Khafra would go underground and dig the tunnels if Beckwitt would invest.

Khafra had no idea where the tunnels were being built. Beckwitt would send a rented car to pick up Khafra, which would drive him to a location in Manassas, Virginia. Khafra would then put on blackout glasses and would get into another car.

He would be driven around for an hour before being brought to the Washington D.C. home and was lowered 20 feet down into the tunnel shaft below the basement floor.

Beckwitt gave Khafra a cell phone, but rigged it to make it look like the young man was still in Virginia, the prosecutor says. Khafra would then spend days underground working. He would eat and sleep down there as well.

By last year, more than 200 feet of tunnels branched out under the millionaire's home, and no one else in the neighborhood knew about them.

On September 10, 2017, Khafra was working in the tunnels and began to smell smoke. He called Beckwitt, who shut the power. Khafra couldn't see, so Beckwitt turned the power back on. It was then that the fire broke out. Neighbors called 911 when they heard Beckwitt screaming and saw smoke pouring out of the home.

Beckwitt reportedly tried to rescue Khafra, but lived in 'extreme hoarder' conditions, so the house was difficult to navigate and the blaze spread quickly. He was unable to save him. Khafra's charred remains were later found in the basement.

Khafra's parents, Kia and Claudia, said they knew about their son's arrangement with Beckwitt and didn't like it. They urged their son to turn down the arrangement. "I always feared something dangerous would happen to him," said the 69-year-old father.

"I think Askia was very trusting," he said. "He believed in the guy."

The prosecutor is arguing that Beckwitt put Khafra at risk by leaving him alone in the hidden tunnels, which had a heater system that was powered by a 'haphazard daisy chain' of power strips.

Beckwitt's attorney argues it was a tragic accident, but that his client did not commit murder.

Source: Fox News
Photos: WJLA, CBS Local Screenshots

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