POINT BREEZE (KDKA) – A man has been charged in connection with a double homicide and arson in Point Breeze.
On Monday, police were called to a home in the 100 block of Penfield Place for a welfare check. When they arrived, a fire broke out and a man was seen jumping out of a back window. He was later identified as 58-year-old Vincent Smith. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Once the flames were extinguished, emergency crews found the body of 71-year-old Steven Pariser inside. When crews went back to the scene on Tuesday, they found the body of 54-year-old John Robert Van Dyke.
A source initially told KDKA that both of the men appeared to have been killed by blunt force trauma to the head.
According to the criminal complaint, Smith confessed to fighting over marijuana with the two victims at Pariser’s home on Feb. 21.
Smith told police he had been in the house watching television when both men began yelling at him about stealing marijuana. He claims both men attacked him, so he fought back by throwing both of them down the basement steps.
Then, he assaulted them by “banging their heads off of the steps and basement floor.” He then hid the bodies under plastic bags and clothing.
Smith said he did not answer the door when police arrived at the house that night to conduct a welfare check.
KDKA’s David Highfield Reports:
When police returned to the home on Monday, Smith said he had spread lighter fluid throughout the home and never intended to hurt a police officer or firefighter.
Smith has been charged with criminal homicide, arson and abuse of a corpse.