Darby Township fire: Man charged with murder in arson that killed 20-year-old with cerebral palsy

DARBY TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) — A 30-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the deadly fire at a home in Delaware County, Pennsylvania over the weekend.

Officials say it was intentionally laid by Aaron Clark, who was taken into custody about six hours after the fire broke out.

Clark also faces three counts of attempted murder.

“Aaron Clark committed one of the most vicious and heinous acts I have ever witnessed,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.

Stollsteimer and other officials detailed the case during a news conference Wednesday morning.

Stollsteimer says Clark set the fire in retaliation against his ex-girlfriend who was trying to end her relationship with him.

Officials say Clark worked for the Philadelphia Postal Service, where he met his former girlfriend, who was a colleague.

Investigators say when she tried to end their relationship, he retaliated by threatening to do “something big”.

Officials say she reported the threats to her employer and to the police, but officers did not have a chance to contact Clark before the fire.

The fire broke out just after midnight Sunday at the home on the 600 block of Sharon Avenue.

Officials say Olivia Drasher, 20, who suffered from cerebral palsy, was wheelchair-bound and speechless, was unable to escape the flames.

She is the younger sister of Clark’s ex-girlfriend who was not home at the time.

“She was killed by smoke inhalation and her body was literally burned to death,” Stollsteimer said. “You can imagine her sitting in this household on a December evening dying from the smoke and from the fire burning her body. I’ve never seen anyone do anything as despicable as Mr Clark here.”

According to a GoFundMe page, Drasher’s mother, a Philadelphia police officer, and Drasher’s twin escaped unharmed. Drasher’s nurse escaped with injuries.

The fire brigade had to leave the house twice because the flames were strong.

Stollsteimer and Darby Township Police Chief Mike Sousa both say it was the most vicious act they have seen in their careers.

Sousa called Clark “an absolute monster”.

He says authorities know Clark knew who was in the house at that time of day.

“He couldn’t kill the woman who was trying to break up with him, so he took it out on her paraplegic sister by intentionally setting the house on fire when he knew the family was there,” Stollsteimer said .

Stollsteimer says Clark did not stop his horrible ways even while in custody.

“Even after he started that fire and intentionally killed her sister, he was in police custody and continued to send terrorist threats to her just to continue to terrorize her after killing her sister and trying to wipe out her entire family,” Stollsteimer said .

Officials say Clark sent these threatening messages while in detention from an Apple Watch he had hidden in his body when he was arrested.

When police confronted him about sending those threatening messages, officials said he assaulted a police officer.

He faces further charges for this incident.

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https://6abc.com/darby-township-fire-deadly-arson-sharon-avenue-aaron-clark/12539309/ Darby Township fire: Man charged with murder in arson that killed 20-year-old with cerebral palsy

Alley Einstein

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