The charges are related to an incident that took place on the afternoon of July 10, in Cote Saint Luc.
Neighbours heard a woman screaming for help, and called 9-1-1 when they saw smoke and flames coming from the apartment’s kitchen.
Cohen, 75, was taken to hospital and died of severe burns the following day.
Abeassis was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, and officers had to wait until doctors gave them permission to interview the man.
While waiting, arson investigators examined the apartment and found traces of a flammable liquid, leading them to believe the fire was deliberately set.
Neighbours were shocked by the charges.
“It’s hard to believe. I don’t know. We cannot believe that something like this would happen,” said Esther Weber, who was the neighbour that called 911 during the fire.
Abeassis, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, has been restricted from having any contact with his family or children. He appeared confused by the court condition. He remains in custody until his next appearance on Oct. 17.