Pa. man charged with killing young daughters, wife

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INDIANA, Pa. — A western Pennsylvania man has been jailed on charges he killed his two young daughters and his estranged wife at separate residences which were also set on fire.

Officials at the Indiana County Jail confirmed that Lewis Beatty, 40, was charged with three counts of criminal homicide, though online court records were not immediately available Monday.

State troopers and Indiana County District Attorney Pat Dougherty were planning to release additional details at an afternoon news conference.

Coroner Michael Baker said the bodies were found at the scene of separate fires in Indiana County, which Dougherty later identified as a home in South Mahoning Township, where the two girls were found, and the other at a home in East Mahoning Township, where one victim was found.

Ron Smail, who identified himself as the father and grandfather of the victims, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the girls found dead in one home were 6-year-old Sara Beatty and 11-year-old Amanda Beatty. They were found dead after Beatty allegedly set fire to his own home in South Mahoning Township about 7 p.m. Friday.

Smail said his daughter, Christine Beatty, 33, was the suspect’s estranged wife and was found dead at the mobile home she had been renting 10 miles away in East Mahoning. That fire was reported about 8 p.m. Friday.

Smail said the coroner told him that all three victims bled to death from slash wounds to their throats. The family’s pet pony, goat and dog had also been shot, Smail said.

The coroner issued a statement confirming all three victims were members of the same family, but Baker said additional details would be released only at Monday’s news conference.

The Presbyterian Church of Plumville, where the family attended church, posted the message “We love you Chris Amanda and Sara” on a sign in front of the sanctuary.

It was not immediately clear if Lewis Beatty has an attorney.

Beatty was jailed without bond following his arrest and preliminary arraignment Saturday.

Smail said his daughter and Beatty has separated and shared custody of their daughters. He said Lewis Beatty was attempting to reconcile with Christine, who had turned down his invitation for a dinner date on Friday.
This article was provided by The Associated Press Wire.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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