A western Pennsylvania man accused of starting a fire that killed six people, but not the intended target, waived his preliminary hearing Friday and will stand trial on charges including criminal homicide.
Allegheny County prosecutors contend Ryan Williams, 24, of McKeesport, was set on revenge when he illegally entered and torched Keith Egenlauf's unlocked McKeesport home early on Oct. 18.
Williams has pleaded not guilty.
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Investigators said Williams took money from a wallet in an upstairs bedroom and food from the refrigerator before tossing a burning roll of toilet paper on a couch.
Williams did that because he blamed Egenlauf for theft charges that put him in jail earlier last year, police said.
The fire killed Egenlauf's father, Ronald Egenlauf Sr., 55; Keith Egenlauf's 27-year-old wife, Hope Jordan; and her four children, ages 2 through 7. The 23-year-old Egenlauf managed to escape but was critically burned, and is still recovering from his injuries.
"Williams found out on the news that children died in the house and began to cry," a witness told police. The witness also said, "Williams was upset and sad that children died'' because "he thought Keith lived there alone."
Asked after his Jan. 16 arrest whether he knew children were inside the house, Williams told WPXI-TV, "No, I did not," before declining further comment.
Another witness told police that Williams called shortly after the fire began, saying, "I just did some crazy (expletive). I'm out on my porch waiting for the fire trucks." The witness heard fire sirens in the background during the phone call, police said.