Man used lighter to scare cat, killed mom

November 10, 2009 1:29:45 PM PST
A Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty to accidentally starting a fire that killed his bedridden mother by using a lighter to get a cat to come out of hiding. Chad Lever, 26, of Slatington, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Monday and was sentenced to probation. His mother, Lisa House, 47, had Lou Gehrig's disease and could not walk without assistance.

Lever told police he flicked the lighter behind his mother's bed on Feb. 3 to scare the cat. He says he had done it many times before. The cat never appeared, so Lever left the room to look elsewhere.

Lever then heard his mother screaming. He tried to save her, but couldn't. She later died.

Prosecutor Steven Luksa says Lever was negligent but didn't intend to kill House.

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