Fairbanks teen accused of arson to cover murder

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by Your Alaska Link News Team

Police say a fire was intentionally set at a Fairbanks apartment building last winter to cover up a murder.

Reports say additional indictments were returned by a grand jury Friday against 18-year-old Conar Lee Groppel.

Detective Peyton Merideth alleges Groppel killed 39-year-old Kristina Pence and then set fire to the 18-unit apartment building in late January. Another person, 50-year-old Jane Connolly, was killed in the fire and about 50 others were displaced.

Merideth declined to provide more details of how Pence was killed, citing the ongoing investigation.

A message left with the public defenders' office in Fairbanks wasn't immediately returned Thursday.

Groppel now faces 16 counts, including arson and varying degrees of murder and manslaughter charges. He's pleaded not guilty.

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