- Associated Press - Friday, April 7, 2017

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania man has admitted to starting a house fire that killed a woman and her daughter.

Joseph Derhammer pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and arson Thursday. Prosecutors say the 46-year-old got into a dispute over rent before setting the fire.

Officials say Derhammer was living with Nancy Kostelnick, her husband, Joseph, and their daughter Carolyn at a home in Wilkes-Barre. Prosecutors say Kostelnick kicked Derhammer out and later refused to give his rent money back.

Prosecutors say Derhammer returned to the home in April 2009 and started the fire. Joseph Kostelnick was able to escape, but Nancy Kostelnick and their daughter died of smoke inhalation.

Derhammer was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. He was already in prison for failing to register as a sex offender.



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