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Arson, murder charge in Geraghty apartment fire

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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 11:55 pm | Updated: 7:11 pm, Tue Jul 8, 2014.

FAIRBANKS — An 18-year-old Fairbanks man was indicted Thursday on arson and murder charges associated with a January apartment fire that killed two and displaced 50.  

Conar Lee Groppel was indicted Friday for his role in the fire, according to a City of Fairbanks news release. The 12-count indictment includes charges of first-degree murder, first-degree arson, burglary and evidence tampering. 

Charging documents don’t elaborate on Groppel’s role in the fire, but state law defines first-degree arson as the crime of “intentionally” starting a fire or explosion that endangers others. 

Two residents died in the Jan. 29 fire on Geraghty Street: Jane Connolly, 50, and Kristina Pence, 39. The fire destroyed the building, which held 18 apartments on the second floor and offices and a furniture store on the first floor. 

Groppel was injured in the fire and medevaced to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. 

Groppel already was in custody on Fairbanks Correctional Center on an unrelated misdemeanor assault and trespass case out of the Tok area that allegedly occurred this week. With the new charges, he is being held without bail.

His first court hearing has not yet been set. 

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.

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