A head injury slowed David O'Dell mentally, though it neveraffected his kind and trusting nature. He lived alone in an oldwooden house in upstate Wayland, N.Y., employed by his best friend,Joseph Meyers.

Little did O'Dell realize that Meyers would betray him. He torched the rickety old home,burning O'Dell alive in an insurance plot so Meyers and his wifecould live the good life.

Bigger plans

Meyers and his wife, Iryn, wanted to buy a double-wide trailerto upgrade their living quarters, and Joseph planned to buy two towtruck businesses. O'Dell was their ticket.

The couple virtually stole O'Dell's home out from under him —the first step in their insurance plot. They maneuvered to buy theaging house from O'Dell for half its value. Cunningly, they allowedhim to continue living there. It was O'Dell's childhood home, arefuge for the aging loner. And soon became his fiery coffin.

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