Man charged with killing wife, torching house as coverup

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A man struck his wife in the head with a hammer at least 10 times and stabbed her before starting a fire in his South Fayette home this morning in what police said was an attempt to conceal evidence of the killing.

Robert Abrams, 40, was charged with homicide, arson and abuse of a corpse in the death of his wife, Jeannette, 44.

The two quarreled, in part because Mr. Abrams had stayed up late to watch the Penguins' game, which went into three overtimes, before he killed her, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said.

While the house on Locust Lane burned, firefighters found Mrs. Abrams in a second floor bedroom. She was pronouced dead at the scene at 3:30 a.m.

Mr. Abrams escaped the blaze from a second floor window and is still hospitalized for burns to his hands, among other injuries.

Medical Examiner Karl E. Williams said investigators knew almost immediately that his wife did not die as a result of the fire, nor were there signs that she was alive when it started.


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