Young Champions of America Fire That Killed Arsonist Spurs Two More Arrests


otto jeff.jpg
Image: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Police made two more arrests last night in the case of a fatal arson fire last month at a Phoenix business, Young Champions of America.

Josh Robinson, 28, a karate instructor at the company, was killed in the blaze that he helped start, police say. 

Jeffrey Otto, 19, and Moniza Murillo, age unavailable. were collared yesterday for their alleged involvement. Court records show that police are seeking a first-degree murder charge against young Otto [above], who lived with his father in Glendale until his arrest.

Another suspect, Jonathan Antonucci, 19, was arrested in June.

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Image: Young Champions of America


The four conspired in mid-June to burn down the company's building at 5414 South 40th Street because of "pending embezzlement charges" against Antonucci, who had just been fired from Young Champions, says a police probable-cause statement. The other three still worked at the company during the incident. The group gathered at a Wal-Mart on June 14, where they bought and stole five-gallon gas cans.

Police say all four then hooked back up at the Young Champions building, Antonucci in his pickup truck and Otto driving his Mitsubishi Galant. They climbed onto the roof, broke in through a second-story window with the gas cans.

Murillo dropped off her can and went back out to Otto's car "after ignition" of the fire, court records state. She tried to call Otto on his cell phone but got no answer. Then Otto and Antonucci left the building, but without Robinson.

Investigators believe the gas fumes were so intense that Robinson exploded into flame when he tried to ignite the fire. His body was burned beyond recognition.

The building and its contents -- a fortune in sports equipment -- were a total loss.

Records indicate prosecutors will have plenty of surveillance footage from Wal-Mart and Young Champions to bolster their case against the three surviving suspects.

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Jonathan Antonucci




A message on the company's Web site includes a vow to rebuild:

We would like to thank everyone for your support during this challenging time.

Our staff has 100% resolve to rebuild and be stronger than ever!

All classes will continue as scheduled, however all phone support has been forwarded to our Kansas City Affiliate office.

Thank You

Kraig Hollingworth
Assistant Director


UPDATE: Read our January 21, 2010, feature story about this crime.

UPDATE July 7 -- Murillo's jail mug shot:

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Student of Joshes
Student of Joshes

What the hell is your problem? How the hell can you say such awful things about Sensei Josh, he was, and will for ever be the best instructor i have ever had. He made me who i am today. How dare you say such hurtful things about some one so dont know the feelings weve all been through, all of his dont know how much this has taken a toll on us, how much grieving we have done. Even two years later i still cry, i miss him so much. And dont say i didnt know how he treated students, i was with him for 6 years, He was an amazing man, and he helped me achieve my black belt, without him i wouldnt have even gotten close. You have no respect for anyone, and you dont even deserve your black belt with the amount of disrespect and dishonor i have seen in this post.....i agree with V btw


I know this is 2 years later, but i honestly dont care. Dont you dare say that Josh was a bad person EVER, i was one of his favorite students andi knew him for 6 years total, he helped me achieve my brown belt. He is one of the most influential guys in my life. Also dont say it was ALL his fault, it wasnt. Jon, Moniza, and jeff were all old enough to make their own decisions.  2 years later and this whole event still hurts me. I miss josh more than anything. So unless you know him, stop degrading him like he was worthless.


Karatedude i know I know u. If u ever read this add me on face book: Justin Bartels I would like to know who u r and talk to u


Josh Robinson was my instructor for 7 and a half years. I was told that YCOA was going to alter the records in order to get John fired because he was trying to get his own business going and they thought he was a threat or what ever. Josh, John, Jeff, and Moniza were all very close friends and in their eyes they were doing the right thing. The entire burning of the building was an accident. They only wanted to destroy records and maybe clear John's name. Another possibility is that John was stealing and they went in to destroy the records in hopes to cover up their crimes. I don't know what to believe or what's true and what's false. I knew Josh really well and looked up to him as a second father while I was growing up. I cried for weeks when he died. I miss him more than anything.


 Just watched the lockdown episode and have been intrigued by the whole case. And what a sad case it is. To take 14 years off a young man who has made a terible mistake is just so sad, as he seems like a very dcent man. The whole point of the argument seems to be that these people left josh to die, but it seems from the amount of gasoline they poured in and from the size of the explosion that josh would of died anyway. This seems like a heartless thing to say but its FACT, and it seems alot of facts have been overlooked in the handing down of this verdict.   At the end of the day jon should of been found not guilty of the manslaughter charge. It was the careless actions of josh during the partaking of this crime that ultimately led to his own death. I seriosly want people to think what they would of done in the same situation. I know it is a horrible situation to be in, but sometimes lifes choices leads us to situations like this. And why were the others not injured? It seems very feasable that josh lit the match and ultimately the others were not in the immediate vacinity, and a very natural reaction to run as soon as you hear the explosion. So straight away they would not have been aware of the seriousness of josh' situation, and when they did it was already to late. Others were on the scene, and a teenagres natural reaction would be for self preservaion. I know its very long winded, but this just takes away the whole argument that these people were heartless and left josh to die.

 All 4 were responsible for the arson crime and should be charged as such. To blame murder on these people is plain wrong. To Josh' family and friends, i really hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive these people. At the end of the day it seems they all had frustration with the organisation they worked for and the fact that this YCOA orgainsation has been one of the loudest campaigners in seeking the maximum 21 years for jon has been a vey sickening aspect of the whole case.

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