New Details in Case of Man Charged with Arson, Brother’s Murder

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SCRANTON -- Investigators in Scranton released the details of an arson case that has become a murder case.

Police say a homeowner paid his brother to burn down his house. Then the brother died from burns he got in the fire.

Diomedes Ceballos of Scranton is now behind bars. He was arraigned at the Lackawanna County prison late Wednesday night on charges of arson and second degree murder. He's charged with murder because police say the arsonist he promised money to, his brother, died from burns he received setting that fire this past weekend.

The home on 12th Avenue in west Scranton was a fireball early Saturday morning.

"I've never seen anything like that. I've never been that close to a fire before. It was terrifying," said Kimberly DePaolo

DePaolo and Krystal Marr live in the apartment house next door to the home where the fire was set, which city DPW workers are still demolishing. While this job winds down, the story behind it all has become much more intriguing.

Scranton police say Aurelio Ceballos set the fire and witnesses saw him running from the house Friday night. He was found dead Sunday from severe burns.

"It's sad someone had to die. No one should have to go through that, the pain of it and everything, but it happened through actions of his own," DePaolo said.

According to court papers, Aurelio Ceballos was promised $5,000 if he burned down the home on 12th Avenue owned by his brother.

Diomedes CeballosĀ is now charged with both arson and second degree murder for Aurelio's death.

Investigators say Diomedes admitted to the arson scheme in a recorded conversation a few days later at Goodfella's on North Main Avenue.

If you look at numbers, it might help explain his reasoning. Diomedes bought the house on 12th Avenue in 2009 for about $86,000. His insurance policy was for a half million dollars.

It all made sense for Krystal Marr.

"Over the past couple days, I noticed them moving a couple things from the home into their vehicles," she said.

Now, instead of a $500,000 payout for the property, Diomedes Ceballos is behind bars without bail.

"I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled and I'm glad he is locked up," said Marr.

A firefighter was injured fighting the fire this past weekend. He is still off the job with a serious arm injury.

Diomedes Ceballos is due back in court next week.

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