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State

DNA dispute slows prosecution in deadly fire case

CHESTER — A dispute over DNA testing is slowing prosecution of a southern Illinois man who is accused of setting a house fire that killed four children.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker says state police testing of evidence may destroy some of the potential trial exhibits in the case against Derrick Twardoski.

Twardoski's public defender is James Kelley, who objects to that claim. Randolph County Circuit Judge Richard Brown has scheduled a hearing for next Thursday to decide the matter.

Thirty-three-year-old Twardoski has pleaded not guilty to four first-degree murder counts in the deaths last May in Percy, a village about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis. The fire killed siblings ages 12, 9 and 5-year-old twins.

Their parents and another 6-year-old escaped.

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