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Percy Arson Suspect Makes First Court Appearance

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Fire destroyed a home in Percy, Illinois on May 10, 2013 and left four children dead. (photo courtesy:KMOV-TV)

Fire destroyed a home in Percy, Illinois on May 10, 2013 and left four children dead. (photo courtesy:KMOV-TV)

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PERCY, IL (KMOX) - The man accused of setting a fire that killed four children in Percy, Illinois had his first hearing before a Randolph County judge Monday morning.

Derrick Twardoski, 33, faces four counts of first-degree murder for allegedly setting Friday’s fire. Dressed in a green smock with his wrists wrapped in bandages, he cried in court as the charges were read to him.

Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker identified the dead Friday as Ethan Owen, 12, Kailey Owen, 9, and twin brothers Brandon and Landon Owen, both 5. Walker has stated that Twardoski knew the victims but has not elaborated on the relationship.

Walker requested Monday that Twardoski be held without bail, arguing that he poses a flight risk. A judge sided with Walker, ordering Twardoski be held without bail and assigning him a public defender.

Walker is seeking a sentence of life imprisonment for Twardoski.

Three adults and a 6-year-old child were able to escape the blaze.

Services for the children will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Steeleville, followed by burial in the church cemetery.

Twardoski’s next court appearance is scheduled for the morning of June 3.

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