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Man accused of murdering girlfriend

A man with a long history of criminal activity in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties has been arrested and charged with burning his girlfriend to death in a local motel. This horrific crime appears to be only the latest in a lengthy string of criminal activity stretching back to 2001.

The alleged murder occurred in a motel in Bensalem early Sunday morning. The defendant is accused of pouring gasoline on his girlfriend, who apparently was in bed smoking a cigarette. The cigarette instantly ignited the gasoline, engulfing the woman in flames. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The man was arrested and faces charges of murder, arson, risking a catastrophe and related counts.

Public records show that the man has a long criminal history in Northeastern Pennsylvania, especially in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties. In 2014, police raided the man's residence and found almost 300 packets of heroin. The man had previously been arrested in 2012 in Wilkes-Barre and charged with theft of a motor vehicle. In 2011, he was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property and DUI. He was also arrested in Lackawanna County in 2001 and charged with receiving stolen property and identity theft.

The defendant in this case, in spite of the charges against him, is entitled to be presumed innocent of the murder of the woman unless and until he is proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar charges, especially a person with a past criminal record, may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide an evaluation of the case, advice about prevent past crimes from being used as evidence and the chances of negotiating a favorable plea agreement or obtaining an outright acquittal.

Source: Citizens Voice, "Man accused of burning girlfriend alive faced charges in Luzerne, Lackawanna counties," Sarah Scinto, May 17, 2016

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