Loyola law student accused of arson after apartment she was set to be evicted from caught fire

A student at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law is facing arson charges after the apartment house she had been evicted from went up in flames.

Authorities claim that Major torched the building on the night before she was to vacate it, leaving it gutted, displacing two dozen of her former neighbors and killing a dog, the news web site nola.com reported. More than 70 fire fighters battled the three-alarm blaze. 

However, the lawyer for Jazlynn Major says the evidence against her client is circumstantial. “This whole mess could have easily been avoided,” said her lawyer, Elizabeth Carpenter 

Carpenter says if Major would have been given time, she would have paid the money she owed. She fell behind because of stress from her studies and the pandemic.

Major received a scholarship to attend Loyola New Orleans and paid several months of rent in advance. 

But by July, she was two months behind and owed $1,700. Her landlord, Vivian Amiewalan, began demanding the back rent and threatened eviction.  

Major refused to pay, telling Amiewalan that she should be compensated for two weeks without hot water and called her a “slumlord,” according to nola.com 

Amiewalan told Major that she had to be out by the end of July, had removed the refrigerator and made it clear that an eviction was coming next. 

Major not only refused to leave her apartment but she also threatened the landlord by text. 

“I must warn you that this will be unpleasant,” Major wrote. “I’m staying my ass through August like I said. Don’t be an idiot, before you lose everything.”

On August 31, Major and Amiewalan appeared in court over the matter. Major was given until 11:30 a.m. the following day to be out of the apartment, per the judge’s ruling. 

Following the court hearing, Major allegedly “threatened to kill” Amiewalan and her daughter. This was cited in a temporary restraining order that has since been granted.  

Major had also sent text messages to Amiewalan telling her that she would “slap the dog s—t out of you when I see you again believe that,” saying the landlord had “picked the wrong one,” according to nola.com.

“She’s not the only person that’s gotten angry at me. She’s just the only person that’s burned my building down,” Amiewalan said.  “I’m sad for my friend’s dog who died. I’m sad for all the people who are displaced. If she wanted to kill me, she should have just killed me, not destroyed all these people’s stuff, for nothing,” 

Carpenter said nothing in Major’s past suggests she is capable of such a crime. “She comes from a good family — she’s very smart,” Carpenter said. “Students can fall behind on rent.”

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