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Deadly fire exposes wealthy man’s secret underground tunnels

BETHESDA, Md. — A wealthy stock trader is being charged in the death of a young man who was helping him dig secret tunnels under his Maryland home.

Daniel Beckwitt awaits trial on charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of 21-year-old Askia Khafra (ASK-ee-uh KA-fruh).

The young man was helping Beckwitt dig the tunnels under his Bethesda, Maryland, home when a fire broke out last September.

Prosecutors say Beckwitt recklessly endangered Khafra’s life. Beckwitt’s lawyer says Khafra’s death was a tragic accident, not a crime.

While they wait for a trial to determine if their son’s death was a crime, Khafra’s parents are dreading Monday’s anniversary of the fire. Dia Khafra says he and his wife, Claudia, had tried to persuade their son to stay away from Beckwitt’s home.