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Husband Arrested For Wife's Death From Smoke Inhalation After Couple Set Vacant House on Fire

A house fire in Anderson, South Carolina killed a 57-year-old woman, and now her husband has been arrested after authorities ruled it a homicide.

Initially it was reported that Wanda Morrell died from smoke inhalation after the home she hired to clean caught fire last week. Her husband, Clifford Morrell, told police that he had gone out to get coffee and when he returned, he saw the home on fire. Authorities were originally able to rule the death a homicide because they found that the power in the home was turned off while the woman was inside cleaning.

"The victim on scene had sustained some burns on the hand, and he informed us that his wife was inside the building," said coroner Don McCown.

Now, upon further investigation, police are saying that the couple had actually gone to the vacant home to intentionally set it on fire and that they weren’t really there to clean it. They believe that the couple were a part of a group that went to the home to set it on fire, but that Wanda Morrell got trapped in the home during the fire and died of carbon monoxide toxicity and smoke inhalation.

Clifford Morrell appeared in front of a judge last week, and his bond was set at $25,000. Reports say that Morrell broke down in the courtroom, claiming that it was a mistake.

"It was just a big mistake I didn't want no part of," said Morrell. “I don't know where my wife's at; I don't know nothing.”

Morrell has now been charged with conspiracy to commit arson and is scheduled to return to the courtroom on December 20th.


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