(CBS Connecticut) –– Federal prosecutors, the FBI and Branford Police have announced that two men have been charged in a 2006 arson which resulted in the death of a Branford mother of three. 39-year-old Kathy Hardy’s body was found on the second floor of a single-family home on Little Bay Lane. She died of smoke inhalation.

The investigation led authorities 42-year-old John Vailette and 45-year-old Steven Martone. Vailette, also known as “Snaglepuss” is currently a federal prison inmate. Martone was arrested at his home in North Branford.

Prosecutors say a truck used by Vailette was found after the fire, containing a silver serving platter and jewelry that had belonged to Kathy Hardy. They say both Vailette and Martone are reported to have made incriminating statements,

Fire investigators determined accelerants were used in the living room and staircase of the home.

If the federal government chooses to pursue the death penalty, the two could be sentenced to death, or to life in prison, if they are convicted at trial of committing an arson resulting in death. Two state prosecutors have been cross-designated as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys and are prosecuting the case with Assistant US Attorney John Durham.


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