Monday, August 6, 2012

Pekin, IL: Authorities identify man killed in Pekin fire

PEKIN, Ill. -- Authorities say the man killed in a Pekin house fire set the home ablaze but then went inside fearing he might have killed his wife.

The Pekin Daily Times ( reports an autopsy Monday confirmed 44-year-old Lawrence Medearis Jr. died of burns. The newspaper says Medearis had been barred from the home by a court order of protection due to an earlier attack on his wife.

Medearis' wife told police he had a machete and a handgun when he arrived at the home late Saturday.

Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston says witnesses saw Medearis spread an accelerant on the home and then walk inside the home's garage as the flames grew. By that point, his wife had already fled.

Firefighters found his body as they worked to douse the fire.

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