A Lackawanna County man will spend the rest of his life in state prison for setting the December 2021 fire at a Buckingham Township home that killed his girlfriend’s 81-year-old father.
Appearing in court on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, Christopher Gillie, 62, of Dunmore, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, attempted murder and related charges for the Dec. 5, 2021, fire that killed Julius Drelick. Drelick’s wife, Phyllis, was able to escape by fleeing the burning home.
As part of the negotiated plea deal, Gillie was sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Raymond F. McHugh to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Drelick’s murder and a consecutive sentence of 25 years to life for the attempted murder of Drelick’s wife.
Additionally, Gillie was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $724,658.30.
“In a mere matter of minutes, the Defendant turned a loving home into a raging inferno, killing Julius Drelick and condemning Phyllis Drelick to live out the remainder of her life in despair,” Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber said. “The Defendant used fire as a weapon, but his heart was as cold as ice. He deserves nothing less than to be behind bars for the rest of his life.”