Suspects to appear in court

By The Mercury

Two suspects accused of starting an apartment fire that killed a K-State researcher were scheduled to appear in federal court in Topeka late Wednesday morning for their arraignment.

Patrick Scahill, 20, Manhattan, and Virginia Griese, 19, Manhattan, are charged with arson resulting in death for allegedly starting a fire in the Lee Crest Apartment complex, 820 Sunset Ave., that killed Vasanta Pallem, 34, a tenant of the complex. Pallem died at Mercy Regional Health Center of smoke inhalation.

Scahill and Griese are scheduled to make their initial appearances in front of Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius, where they will be read their charges and will plead not guilty.

Officials have said that federal charges were sought in pursuit of stiffer punishment for the suspects, who could face life in prison without parole if convicted.

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