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Man pleads to meth lab that started fire

June 22, 2018 News Extra

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William E. Burke, 38, pleaded guilty Friday to breaking into a home and manufacturing methamphetamine, causing a house fire in February.
William E. Burke, 38

A Winfield Township man pleaded guilty Friday to breaking into a home and manufacturing methamphetamine, causing a house fire in February.

William E. Burke, 38, pleaded guilty to felony criminal trespass and operating a methamphetamine lab.

The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 15 to 30 months in a state correctional facility, followed by probation. Burke is also expected to be ordered to pay restitution, fines and complete community service when he is sentenced.

Burke was initially charged after an incident at 129 Germaine Road, Butler Township, on Feb. 3. He was charged alongside Brittney R. Rudolph, 34, of Saxonburg, who currently awaits further court proceedings.

Police said the pair broke into the house overnight and used a one-pot method to make the drugs. Shortly after, the building caught fire.

Several people, including the homeowner and her adult son, were in the house when the blaze began at about 6 a.m. Feb. 3, police said. All were able to get out.

Police said Burke later admitted that the fire started while he was cooking up the drugs.

He also admitted that the pair entered the home without telling the homeowner or her son, police said.

A full story will appear in the Eagle.

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