DA's workplace contemplating pursuing demise penalty towards man accused of setting lethal fireplace in Bucks

BUCKINGHAM TWP., Pa. – A person who’s accused of setting a hearth in Bucks County that led to the demise of an 81-year-old man was formally arraigned Friday morning.

The arraignment comes a day after the Bucks County District Lawyer’s Workplace stated it filed discover of aggravating circumstances within the case towards Christopher Gillie.

Gillie, 61, of Dunmore, Lackawanna County, was arraigned earlier than Widespread Pleas Decide Raymond F. McHugh on costs of murder, tried murder, theft by illegal taking, aggravated arson, legal mischief, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering one other individual, individuals to not possess firearms, two counts every of housebreaking and legal trespassing and three counts of arson endangering individuals.

Gillie stays imprisoned with out bail within the Bucks County Correctional Facility, in response to a information launch from the DA’s workplace.

On Thursday, the DA’s workplace filed discover reserving its proper to hunt the demise penalty towards Gillie, itemizing three aggravating components the Commonwealth would search to show ought to it select to pursue the demise penalty towards him.

The DA’s workplace stated the components are: Gillie dedicated the killing through the fee of a felony; within the fee of the killing Gillie knowingly created a grave danger of demise to a different individual along with the sufferer of the homicide; and that Gillie has a big historical past of felony convictions involving the use or risk of violence to an individual.

Julius Drelick, 81, died within the Dec. 5, 2021, fireplace on the 5700 block of Personal Drive in Buckingham Township. His spouse was in a position to escape by fleeing the burning residence. The hearth was reported to county dispatchers shortly after 3 a.m. with info that two aged residents could also be trapped inside. Upon arrival, police and fireplace items discovered a lady exterior of the home, however she stated that her husband was nonetheless inside, the DA’s workplace stated.

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The home was absolutely concerned with flames and smoke, and preliminary efforts to achieve entry have been unsuccessful. Fireplace personnel have been in a position to lastly attain the second home-owner, who was unresponsive. The male, recognized as Drelick, was pronounced lifeless on the scene, in response to the DA’s workplace.

The Drelicks used a chair raise to rise up and down the steps, however the fireplace knocked out electrical energy within the residence, so Drelick was unable to make use of the raise to get down, in response to the information launch.

As a part of the investigation, an accelerant detection K9 was delivered to the scene and detected an accelerant in three areas of the inside of a household room positioned on the east facet of the constructing, the DA’s workplace stated. Additional investigation by Bucks County Detectives and the Buckingham Township Police Division led to Gillie, who resided with the Drelick’s daughter in Dunmore, Lackawanna County, in response to the DA’s workplace.

Hours after the hearth, he was stopped in Lackawanna County by Dunmore Police. The DA’s workplace says a powerful odor of gasoline was emanating from Gillie, and a lighter was seen on the passenger seat.

Authorities say Gillie was additionally discovered with the home keys to the Personal Drive residence in his pocket and an older model rifle, which was positively recognized as belonging to the Drelicks, was sitting in plain view on the rear seat of the automobile.