A 33-year-old man has been sentenced to life without parole for beating an 83-year-old woman, then setting her and her house on fire while she was still alive.
Prosecutors say Alvarado and his cousin, Jose Alvarado, conspired to kill Lila Meizell of Wheaton after Jose added two zeros to a $75 check she had given him for landscaping work and became fearful the theft would be discovered.
Jose Alvarado, his wife Ana Rodas, and Ramon Alvarado had agreed to split the $7,500 gained in the fraud, with Ramon Alvarado getting $1,200 and Rodas getting $1,000.
According to court documents, the two men went to Meizell's home in the 10500 block of Inwood Avenue last November and Ramon Alvarado forced his way inside, grabbed Meizell by the throat and slammed her into several pieces of furniture before pouring gas on her and setting the fire.
An autopsy found that Meizell was still alive at the time, but died of blunt force trauma, burns and smoke inhalation.
Jose Alvarado pleaded guilty to his part in the murder.