By Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2020

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina man has pleaded guilty to killing his disabled neighbor, who was found wrapped in blankets and bound with duct tape in her burned home.

John Dontue Priester, 27, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder and 20 years for second-degree arson on Tuesday by Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen, according to a statement from 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone’s Office. The sentences will run concurrently.

Firefighters initially responded to a blaze at Teresa Siegler’s Beaufort house in December 2016. The 56-year-old’s body was discovered badly beaten and doused in gasoline, according to authorities. Witnesses reported seeing Priester walk toward Seigler’s home with a gasoline can similar to one investigators found outside her bedroom door, Stone’s office said.

Priester is the third person to be convicted in the case, the Island Packet reported. Brian Walls, 38, was convicted in April 2019 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Courtney Brock, 25, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in October 2019. All three defendants lived in a mobile home two houses down from Siegler, the prosecutor’s statement said.

Seigler often gave the men food and allowed them to shower in her home when their utilities were disconnected, the newspaper said.

Her prescription pill bottles, her debit card and a roll of duct tape were also found in a car driven by Walls and Brock, among other evidence, the newspaper previously reported.

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