Monday, May 19, 2008

Neighbor Kills Family, Burns Down House

A soldier whose family was killed while he served in Iraq returned to his burned-out home on Thursday, and court documents detailed how a neighbor arrested in the slayings told police he woke up in the victims' residence after an alcoholic blackout, covered in blood.

King County Deputy Prosecutor Scott O'Toole said he expects to file four counts of aggravated first-degree murder on Monday against the neighbor, Conner Michael Schierman, 24, who was ordered held on $4 million bail following his first court appearance Thursday. O'Toole said no decision had been made about whether to seek the death penalty.

"He admits to setting the fire. He admits to leaving the victims' house covered in blood," O'Toole said.

Investigators had not determined a motive for the killings, and given Schierman's claim to have blacked out, a motive may never be known, O'Toole said.

The fire at the family's home in Kirkland, across Lake Washington from Seattle, was reported shortly before noon on Monday. Two neighbors reported seeing a man matching Schierman's description nearby at the time, O'Toole said.

After the fire was extinguished, investigators discovered the charred bodies of Olga Milkin, 28; her sons Justin, 5, and Andrew, 3; and her sister, Lyubov Botvina, 24, who lived at the house. They found it curious that the victims would have all been sleeping or otherwise unable to escape or even call 911.

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