- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania man is scheduled to go on trial next spring on charges that he set a fire that killed his former girlfriend and her adult daughter 7½ years ago.

A Luzerne County judge said Tuesday that 46-year-old Joseph Derhammer of Wilkes-Barre will be tried in April on homicide and arson charges.

Authorities allege that Derhammer was upset that 48-year-old Nancy Kostelnick had thrown him out, so he set the April 2009 blaze that killed her along with 23-year-old Carolyn Kostelnick.

Prosecutors wanted to tell jurors that he never asked how the fire started or what happened to the home’s occupants, but a judge said he had a right to remain silent.

Derhammer has been serving a four- to eight-year term for failure to register as a sex offender.


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