Derrick Twardoski in court for Percy, Ill. fatal fire

6:05 PM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ill. (KSDK) - The man accused of setting a home on fire in Percy, Illinois and killing four children made his first appearance in a Randolph County courtroom Monday since being charged.

Prosecutors said Derrick Twardoski set fire to the Owen family home Friday. Twelve-year-old Ethan Owen, 9-year-old Kailey Owen and 5-year-old twins Brandon Owen and Landon Owen died in the blaze.

The judge assigned Twardoski a public defender and scheduled a preliminary hearing for the morning of June 3. Prosecutors claimed the 33-year-old defendant to be a flight risk due to his transient lifestyle, and the judge decided Twardoski be held without bail in Randolph County Jail.

Twardoski, wearing a full-length suicide jacket, was seen crying and shaking his head as the charges against him were read. Twardoski's wrists were also bandaged.

A motive for the fire has not been disclosed to the public. However, the Randolph County State's Attorney acknowledged a relationship between Twardoski and the victims during Monday's proceedings.

The visitation for the children will be held at St. Mark's Lutheran Church at 105 N Garfield St. in Steeleville from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. A second visitation will be held Tuesday at 7:30 a.m., followed by funeral services at 2 p.m.  Schools in the area will not be in session on that day so students can attend the funeral.

A fund is set up for the children at First National Bank of Steeleville.


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