Twardoski Found Guilty


By WSIL Manager

CHESTER -- Derrick Twardoski has pleaded guilty to one count of murder for a house fire that claimed the lives of four children.

Twardoski, 34, entered the plea during a stipulated bench trial Wednesday in Randolph County Court.

He was charged with four counts of murder for the deaths of 12-year-old Ethan Owen, 9-year-old Kailey Owen, and 5-year-old twins Landan and Brandon Owen. Authorities said Twardoski intentionally set fire to the Owen's Percy home during the overnight hours of May 10, 2013.

The children's parents, a brother, and a cousin escaped the fire.

"Certainly, we are pleased to secure a conviction in this case," said Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker. "While we were confident taking our case to trial, the family of the victims and myself elected to remove natural life as a possible penalty to avoid the heartbreak and reliving the tragic events of May 10, 2013. This possibility has been discussed with the parents of the victims since April of this year."

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 3. Twardoski faces up to 60 years in prison.




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