PITTSBURGH (AP) — A preliminary hearing has been postponed for a Pittsburgh-area man accused of setting a house fire that killed six people, but not the man police say he intended to kill.
Prosecutors requested the delay Wednesday in the case of 24-year-old Ryan Williams of McKeesport. The hearing to determine whether there's enough evidence to send the case to trial has been rescheduled for March 13.
Williams was dead-set on revenge when he illegally entered and torched Keith Egenlauf's unlocked McKeesport home early on Oct. 18, according to authorities.
They say he 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 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 injured with burns for which he's still being treated.
"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."
Williams has pleaded not guilty.
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.