According to court documents Daniel Gwynn would be booted from a place that he had been squatting at. Gwynn would return the next day and set the building on fire in which Martha Smith would die in the blaze
Daniel Gwynn would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Daniel Gwynn Photos
Daniel Gwynn Now
Parole Number: 884AH
Date of Birth: 01/12/1970
Height: 5′ 09″
Current Location: PHOENIX
Permanent Location: PHOENIX
Committing County: PHILADELPHIA
Daniel Gwynn Case
On November 19, 1994, at approximately 6:00 a.m., Daniel Gwynn went into an abandoned building where he had formerly lived with several squatters. He forcibly entered the third floor apartment shared by Donald Minnick and Marsha Smith, the deceased victim. Daniel Gwynn said Mr. Minnick could leave but that Ms. Smith had to stay. Mr. Minnick left to get help from the other occupants of the third floor and when they returned they saw that Ms. Smith’s mouth was bloody and she was crying. Daniel Gwynn then punched Mr. Minnick and a fight ensued. Mr. Minnick and the other occupants then evicted appellant from the building. As appellant left, he said “I’ll get you one way or another, all of you․ I will get all of you. If I can’t stay in the building, none of you can stay in the building.”
The next morning at about 6:00 a.m., the occupants of the building were awakened to shouts of fire. Ms. Smith was in such a panic that she could not jump out of the third floor window to a pile of trash below and, therefore, she died in the fire.3 All of the other occupants were able to escape from the burning building with varying degrees of injury.
The evidence showed a fire had been set. Gasoline had been poured under two apartment doors, down the stairs leading from the fourth floor, underneath the stairs between the third and fourth floors and down the third floor hallways. The gasoline was then ignited. The fire had been set in such a way that fire blocked the stairs from the third floor apartments. Gwynn later confessed that he had poured the gasoline and ignited the fire, allegedly accidentally.