Man enters guilty but mentally ill plea in arson that killed elderly father


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SCRANTON, Pennsylvania — A northeastern Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to third-degree murder and arson charges in a fire that killed his sleeping father.

Forty-eight-year-old Kevin Brown entered the pleas Friday in Lackawanna County Court in the November 2013 death of 78-year-old James Brown in Scranton.

Authorities said he told police that he set the fire because the older man often made mistakes writing checks.

The (Scranton) Times-Tribune ( ) reports that defense attorney John Lawler said his client has a "severe mental illness," though he declined to specify the illness.

First District Attorney Gene Talerico said the plea allows a sentence that addresses a defendant's mental health needs.

Lawler said Brown will remain incarcerated but could be sent to a state prison equipped with better mental health rehabilitation capabilities.

Information from: The Times-Tribune,

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