Guilty Plea In Arson That Killed K-State Student

By: Nick Viviani
By: Nick Viviani

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- A 30 year-old Manhattan man linked to an arson that killed a Kansas State student admitted he was there when the plot to start the fire was hatched, according to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom's Office.

On Monday, Gavin Hairgrove pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact.

In his plea, Hairgrove claimed he was there when Dennis Denzien, Frank Hanson, and Patrick Scahill plotted a diversion that would let them sneak back into Scahill and Denzien's apartment. That diversion ended up being the fire at the Lee Crest Apartments that killed Vansetta Pellem.

Hairgrove said the three were worried police searching the apartment would find evidence linking Denzien and Hanson to an armed robbery at Dara's Fast Lane the previous night as well as the gun used in the robbery, which belonged to Scahill. He added they were also worried officers would find narcotics as well.

Grissom's office said Scahill and another defendant, Virginia Griese, drove to the apartment complex later that day, where Scahill poured gasoline in a hallway set it on fire.

After the fire, Hairgrove said he helped Scahill get rid of his shoes, which "reeked of gasoline" and gave him another pair to wear.

He will be sentenced on Feb. 24, 2014 and faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.


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