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Two Manhattan, Kan. residents will face federal charges connected to the fire that killed a Kansas State University researcher.
Patrick Scahill, 20, and Virginia Griese, 19, are each indicted on one count of arson resulting in death. They are alleged to be responsible for the Feb. 6 fire that killed 34-year-old Vasanta Pallam, a postdoctoral research at KSU. Pallam was at her home in the Lee Crest Apartments, located in the 800 block of Sunset Ave. in Manhattan.
"The indictment alleges the defendants acted in reckless disregard for human life, and that Ms. Pallem died as a result of their acts," said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.
The Riley County Attorney's Office requested federal prosecution in the case, Grissom said. Scahill and Griese could both face life in prison without parole if convincted.
"Working together with our state and local partners, we are prepared to prosecute this case to the full extent of the law," Grissom said.
Grissom did not comment on a possible motive for the arson.