Men Indicted in 2006 Fatal Branford Arson Case

A fire set in her Branford home killed Kathy Hardy.

A federal grand jury in New Haven has indicted two men in connection with a 2006 Branford fire that killed a 39-year-old mother of three.

John Vailette, 42, and Steven Martone, 45, have been charged in connection with the fire at 27 Little Bay Lane in Branford on the morning of March 7, 2006 that caused the death of Kathy Hardy.

The indictment was returned on Tuesday.  Martone was arrested this morning at his home in North Branford and is being detained until a hearing on April 2. 

Vailette is currently incarcerated in federal prison.

Firefighters responded to the fire around 8:45 a.m. on that March day and found Hardy’s body on the second floor. An autopsy determined that she died of smoke inhalation and her death was ruled a homicide.

A couple days after the fire, investigators found a truck that Vailette used, authorities said. It was at the home of an associate and inside, were a silver serving platter and jewelry that had belonged to Hardy, federal officials said.

Officials said both Vailette and Martone made incriminating statements to other individuals after the fire.

Through tears, Vailette told someone he'd done something horrible, rotten and as bad as can be, according to the indictment, and went on to tell another person the he'd done something very. very bad that involved a fire.

When someone confronted Martone about his alleged involvement in the fire, he did not deny it and said it was impossible for the police to have any DNA evidence "because of the way we left that," the indictment states.

“These two defendants are charged with setting the fire that killed Kathy Hardy, a mother of three, in 2006,” U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said in a statement.  “This lengthy, complex and ongoing investigation is being conducted with great care and professionalism by dedicated members of the FBI and Branford Police Department, with the assistance of state and local fire investigators.  I want to thank them and our state partners from the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office for their diligence and excellent work in this ongoing investigation.  Together, we seek justice for Ms. Hardy, her family and loved ones.”


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