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Woman ordered to stand trial in fatal boardinghouse fire

by: JOE MANDAK, Associated Press Updated:

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PITTSBURGH -  A Pittsburgh woman has been ordered to stand trial in a boardinghouse fire that killed its owner and two other residents, even though her confession of how she allegedly started the blaze differed from scientific evidence found at the scene.

RELATED: Family of woman accused of setting fire that killed 3 men says she's mentally ill

Latoya Lyerly, 44, is charged with criminal homicide and arson in the Feb. 17, 2016 blaze. Derlyn Vance, 73, who owned the house died along with two residents, Calvin Turner and Gerald Johnson.

During the hearing, the victims' relatives saw photos that brought tears to their eyes. The photos had not been shown to the public before. 

RELATED: Woman charged with homicide, arson in connection with fatal Pittsburgh house fire

During Lyerly's preliminary hearing, an arson investigator said the fire was started by someone who poured gasoline or kerosene around a mattress and some stairs.

A detective testified Friday that Lyerly said voices in her head told her that everyone in the house was evil and they had to die. The detective said that Lyerly told her she lit paper cups on fire and used them to ignite chairs and a couch, and then walked away.

Lyerly's public defender declined to comment after the hearing. Lyerly's brother told Channel 11 that she is not a monster, but she is sick and has had a metal illness for 30 years. 

Stay with Channel 11 News and WPXI.com for continuing coverage. 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.