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   CHESTER, Ill. (AP) - A pre-trial hearing has been delayed for a man accused of setting a Randolph County, Illinois house fire that killed four children last year.
   The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale reports Sunday that Monday's hearing for Derrick Twardoski has been rescheduled for April 17th. Twardoski has pleaded not guilty to four first-degree murder counts in the deaths last May in Percy, a village 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.
   Eight exhibits are still being tested for DNA evidence in the case. Randolph County prosecutors say the testing will be done Monday and results should be available in 30 days.
   The fire killed siblings ages 12, 9 and 5-year-old twins. Their parents and a 6 year old escaped.
 
Published in Local News
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A Columbia man has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for setting fires at two college campuses.
The U.S. attorney's office says 28-year-old Christopher Curtis Kelley also was ordered Thursday to pay over $590-thousand in restitution. Kelly was found guilty of two counts of arson last year for setting fires in 2011 at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Stephens College.
Federal prosecutors accused Kelley of starting fires at 10 locations at the university's Ellis Library. That disrupted library services for a couple of days. Water damage also forced the temporary closure of the Missouri State Historical Society, which is located at the library.
Damage was less extensive from the fire that Kelly was convicted of setting at the Audrey Webb Child Study Center at Stephens College.
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 16:59

Suspect charged in deaths of 3 Miss. relatives

HAZLEHURST, Miss. (AP) - A man suspected in the slaying of three family members from Mississippi has been charged with murder and arson.

Authorities found the family's wrecked and burned vehicle Saturday in a remote area southwest of Jackson. Authorities say after questioning Timothy Lydell Burns, he led them to the bodies of a couple and a 7-year-old boy. They were in an abandoned house about a mile from the vehicle.

Burns was ordered held without bond Wednesday and attorney M.A. Bass was appointed to represent Burns. Bass could not immediately be reached for comment.

Burns was charged with two counts of murder and vehicle arson. Authorities say the third murder charge will likely come out of nearby Hinds County, where authorities think Laterry Smith, the boy's stepfather, was killed.

Published in National News

PARK HILLS, Mo. (AP) - Two eastern Missouri firefighters are facing charges for a string of arsons in the Park Hills area.

The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills, Mo., reports that the firefighters, both from Park Hills, are jailed on $200,000 bail each. Their names have not been released pending formal charges.

The break in the case came when the two men were questioned by police in nearby Leadington and by state conservation agents for the alleged illegal shooting of a deer. Leadington Police Chief Rick Pouge says that during questioning, the men admitted to setting several fires over the past several months.

Park Hills Fire Chief Jackie Wagganer says his department is cooperating with investigators. The department is made up most of volunteer firefighters.

Published in Local News

OLD MONROE, Mo. (AP) — The arson arrest of a volunteer Missouri firefighter isn't as uncommon as some might think.

Lincoln County volunteer firefighter Dustin Grigsby was arrested Monday and accused of torching a garage, but authorities say he is suspected in 14 other suspicious fires in the Old Monroe area.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that across the country, an estimated 1000 firefighters are arrested for arson each year.

Researchers have for years tried to determine what drives firefighters to become arsonists, or if arsonists are drawn to be firefighters. The FBI and universities are among those seeking answers.

Grigsby is 19, and firefighter arsonists are generally 17 to 25, according to research by Matthew Hinds-Aldrich, an assistant professor of fire science at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts.

Published in Local News

The town of Percy, Illinois said a final farewell to the four children killed in last Friday's house fire.

12-year-old Ethan, 9-year-old Kailey, and 5-year-old twins Brandon and Landon Owen died in the fire. Their parents and a cousin escaped the burning home. Derrick Twardoski faces four murder charges in connection to the fire.

Prosecutors say they believe they know why he set the fire, but are not releasing the motive ahead of the trial.

 

Published in Local News
SAVERTON, Mo. (AP) - Juveniles are suspected in a series of fires at a tiny Mississippi River town in northeast Missouri.

Ralls County and state investigators say three fires over the past four months at vacant homes in Saverton were intentionally set by youngsters. The Hannibal Courier-Post reports that the names and ages of the suspects, and the number of them, were not released.

The matter has been turned over to juvenile authorities.

Saverton is an unincorporated town of about 75 residents near Hannibal and about 100 miles north of St. Louis.
Published in Local News

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