• Police: Man knocked wife unconscious, tied her up, lit house on fire using vodka

    Updated:

    DUQUESNE, Pa. - The estranged husband of a woman found dead after a house fire in Duquesne has been charged with homicide and arson, according to a criminal complaint.

    Firefighters said the massive blaze was reported around 1 a.m. Tuesday on Friendship Street.

    James Karr was taken to Allegheny County police headquarters after the blaze, where he had been talking with detectives throughout the day prior to being charged. He was walked out of police headquarters about 7 p.m.

    Neighbor Doreen Collins said the woman who died, Maureen Karr, was her best friend.

    “She didn’t deserve to die like that. She didn’t. She was too good of a lady,” Collins said.

    Authorities said Maureen Karr took out a Protection from Abuse order two weeks ago, claiming her estranged husband, James Karr, was “threatening to set the house on fire.”

    Channel 11’s Renee Kaminski learned that Maureen Karr wrote, “After I fled the house, we saw him go outside and stab my tires, flattening all four.”

    "Then she dies in the house. I knew it was going to happen,” said Collins. "I tried to get her to stay down here, and she wouldn't because of her dogs.”

    Channel 11’s Jennifer Tomazic reported that when Maureen Karr was knocked unconscious, James Karr set the house on fire.

    According to the complaint, the two got into an argument when James Karr showed up at Maureen Karr’s home early Tuesday morning.

    James Karr said “his wife came at him with an axe," the complaint stated.

    When James Karr pushed his estranged wife away, she hit her head on a wall and was knocked unconscious, the complaint stated. James Karr then told detectives that he tried to revive her, but couldn’t. He then bound her hands and moved her into the living room, Tomazic reported.

    He “poured vodka on his wife and then made a trail to the front door,” the complaint said.

    James Karr told detectives he lit the vodka on fire and left the house.

    As James Karr was being escorted from police headquarters to jail, he said it was an accident and that he was sorry for the family.

    Two firefighters were also hurt battling the flames, which could be seen shooting from the roof and windows.

    Fire officials said the fire started on the first floor and quickly spread to the second floor, where Maureen Karr was found.

    “We found heavy fire throughout the whole house,” said Duquesne Fire Chief Andrew Fedor.

    At least one dog was also killed by the blaze. Another dog was rescued.

    On Monday, a hearing for the PFA taken out by Mareen Karr was postponed after James Karr suffered a seizure, Tomazic reported.

    According to the complaint, James Karr made the following Facebook post Sunday:

    "Facebook friends, it's no use going to court tomorrow. I'm not going to get my wife back, so I guess my eyes will take my life now. That's why I'm doing goodbye. I hope somebody shows up at my funeral.”




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