Manchester Man Accused of Raping and Killing Woman, Setting Apartment on Fire

Investigators believe the suspect set the fire during a burglary at the victim's home.

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014  |  Updated 4:34 PM EDT
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Man Accused of Raping and Killing Woman, Setting Apartment on Fire

Manchester Police

Steven Durdek, Jr. , 21, is accused of raping and killing a 56-year-old woman, then setting her Manchester apartment on fire during a burglary gone wrong.

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The 21-year-old Manchester man accused of setting a Park Street apartment on fire after raping and fatally beating a woman who lived there appeared in court.

Steven Durdek, Jr., of Manchester, was arrested Feb. 14 and faced a judge Tuesday. Durdek is a convicted burglar and is charged with felony murder, murder, arson, burglary and tampering with evidence.

Police said they believe Durdek raped and killed 56-year-old Sarah "Jackie" Kelloway in her third-floor apartment at 52 Park Street on Jan. 18, then set her body on fire in a burglary gone wrong.

Kelloway's son and his girlfriend were apparently visiting her until around 3:30 a.m., at which point Durdek, who had been waiting outside, entered the apartment, court documents show.

Police believe Durdek raped Kelloway and beat her to death following a struggle. The two did not know each other, according to police.

The fire was reported around 5 a.m. and most of the damage was contained to Kelloway's bedroom.

Investigators have interviewed a number of people in connection with the case, and said Durdek's DNA was found on the victim and at the scene, accoridng to court documents.

Police believe Durdek also posted Facebook photo of the victim and the crime scene.

Durdek has been convicted on prior burglary charges and was out on probation, according to police.

At least a dozen of Kelloway's friends and family members appeared and court and were angry and emotional following Durdek's arraignment.

Durdek's friends and family members also attended.

Bond was initially set at $1 million but increased to $2 million following his court appearance.

Durdek is due back in cout March 4.

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