DA to pursue death penalty against man accused of killing wife, daughters

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INDIANA, Pa. —

A district attorney says he'll pursue the death penalty against a western Pennsylvania man awaiting trial on charges that he killed his two young daughters and his estranged wife.

Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty says he's "never been involved in a more horrible case" than the prosecution of 41-year-old Lewis Beatty, of Home.

Beatty's attorney, Fred Hummel, says he anticipated the decision but otherwise declined comment.

Beatty is also charged with arson and animal cruelty because he allegedly set fire to his home, where his daughters were killed, and his estranged wife's residence after fatally shooting the family's pet pony, goat and dog during the June 1 rampage.

State police say Beatty confessed to choking and slashing the throat of 33-year-old Christine Beatty, after similarly killing their daughters, 6-year-old Sara, and 11-year-old Amanda.