Authorities say Vincent Smith was fighting with two men over marijuana when he beat them, threw them down the basement steps and hid their bodies before starting the fire.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – A man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson in the deaths of two men will spend up to 52 years behind bars.

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Vincent Smith was sentenced to 26 to 52 years in jail in connection with the 2018 deaths of two men.

(Photo Courtesy: Allegheny County Jail)

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Authorities alleged that Smith was fighting with 71-year-old homeowner Steven Pariser and 54-year-old John Robert Van Dyke over marijuana when he beat them and threw them down the basement steps, hiding their bodies with trash bags and clothes before starting the fire. Investigators found both men had blunt force injuries and their deaths were ruled homicides.

Van Dyke’s brother had reported him missing and officers traced his cellphone to the row home, authorities said. Officers say after they entered the home, they saw Smith striking matches and tossing them to the floor. One ignited in a pool of lighter fluid, and officers retreated as the house caught fire, authorities said in a criminal complaint.

Smith was rescued and taken to UPMC Mercy’s burn unit in critical condition. Pariser and Van Dyke’s bodies were found after the blaze.

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