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Family Trying To Forgive Woman For Setting Homewood Fatal Fire

HOMEWOOD (KDKA) - A day after Derlyn Vance was killed, family members are trying to forgive the woman charged with setting the fire that killed him and two other men.

When he wasn't tinkering with cars, the 73-year-old was helping people in need.

"He was a man of faith and he would give his last to anyone," Vance's sister, Michelle McIntosh, said.

Wednesday morning, about the same time he would always call his mother, Vance was found dead on the second floor of his house in Homewood.

Two other men, 56-year-old Calvin Turner and 68-year-old Gerald Johnson also died in the fire that police believe was intentionally set.

The suspect, LaToya Lyerly, is a woman that Vance had been helping.

"I just can't believe that someone would do something like that and he was trying to help them. But you know, the world is full of evil," McIntosh said.

Police say Lyerly had been living in Vance's home. He would often take in the homeless or those in need.

Lyerly allegedly told police she would clean and cook in return for shelter and pay.

During questioning, police say Lyerly told them she started the fire because the home was filled with demons and she had to fulfill a mission and kill everyone in the house.

Police believe she used an accelerant and left the home after setting the fire around 6 a.m. She returned to the scene visibly upset and collapsed to the ground. Through tears, Vance's family said they are working on finding forgiveness.

"I don't like the act that she did, but the word of God says that we have to forgive," McIntosh said. "I'm praying for her family as well. I just want everyone to pray for our family as we go through this. It's really hard."

Lyerly has been charged with three counts of homicide, aggravated assault and arson.

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