2 Kansas students face sentencing in arson death

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors are asking a judge to impose a lengthy prison sentence against a Kansas State University student who set a blaze that killed a university researcher.

They’re urging U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson to sentence Patrick Martin Scahill to 40 years in prison on Monday.

Federal sentencing guidelines recommend 27 to 33 years. The defense, meanwhile, is pleading for a shorter sentence. His attorney cites his client’s remorse and acceptance of responsibility.

But prosecutors say igniting gasoline at an occupied apartment complex is monstrous.

Scahill and Virginia Amanda Griese pleaded guilty in April to setting the February fire to create a diversion that would prevent police from finding narcotics. The fire killed Vasanta Pallem, a 34-year-old postdoctoral researcher in chemical engineering.

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