Ohio woman admits responsibility for fire that killed teen girl

Posted at 2:13 PM, June 28, 2024

WARREN, Ohio (Court TV) – A woman who was about to face trial for setting a house fire that killed a teenage girl has reached a plea deal with prosecutors, avoiding a possible death sentence.

Patricia Zarlingo pled guilty today to capital aggravated murder, aggravated arson and other offenses related to the 2023 fire in Warren, Ohio that killed 16-year-old Chassidy Broadstone.

Curly-haired woman in a brown cardigan and white tee shirt sits in court.

Patricia Zarlingo sits in court on June 28, 2024. (Court TV)

According to investigators, Broadstone’s mother, Rose Richards, was engaged to Zarlingo’s ex-boyfriend, James Stein. Zarlingo and Stein, who had a child together, were involved in a child support dispute at the time. Zarlingo, now 29, told police that she intended to “piss off” Stein by having two men break into the home to steal a television and an Xbox video game console.

Zarlingo drove Zackary Gurd and Brenden Daviduk to the house just before 2 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2023. Zarlingo and Daviduk were romantically involved at the time. After stealing the electronics, Gurd and Daviduk poured gasoline and lit the fire.

Broadstone and her two older sisters were in the home when the blaze began. The older sisters, who were 18 and 20 years old, managed to escape through a second-floor window. Chassidy’s body was found in an upstairs bathroom.

Prosecutors had surveillance video of Zarlingo’s GMC Yukon SUV in the vicinity of the home on the night of the fire; cell phone data placed her there as well.

Richards, Stein, and Broadstone’s father, Roger Broadstone, were amenable to a plea deal. They each gave emotional victim impact statements at today’s hearing. In essence, they lamented that Chassidy will never experience milestones like prom and marriage. They expressed their sadness over the irony that, had Zarlingo and her co-defendants handled the matter like adults, a child wouldn’t have lost her life.

After victim impact statements were read, Judge Sean O’Brien imposed a sentence of life in prison with eligibility for parole after 35 years. Zarlingo will also have to register as a violent offender.

Zarlingo reached what is known as a Rule 11 plea agreement. The judge made it clear that he is not in favor of this sentence, and only went along with it because that’s what the victim’s family wanted. Judge O’Brien had approved of it being a death penalty case, and that he would have imposed a sentence of death if the jury had recommended one. He also said he would have given Zarlingo more prison time if it were up to him.

Gurd, 24, and Daviduk, 27, previously entered guilty pleas in order to avoid the death penalty. They were set to testify against Zarlingo, had she gone to trial. Gurd and Daviduk still face sentencing, as they were set to learn their fates after providing their testimony. Gurd faces 40-60 years to life, while Daviduk has agreed to a sentence of life in prison with eligibility for parole after 30 years.

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