Preliminary hearing for arsonist, district attorney to push murder charge

4-8 015By Jaime Thomas

Stephen Gyarmathy did not intend to burn the building at 44 Mettowee St. when he poured gasoline on the stairwell and set it alight.

At least that’s what he said in a written statement taken by state police hours after the deed was done. On Thursday, Gyarmathy had a preliminary hearing in Granville village court for second-degree arson charges.

The charges stem from a March 25 fire he admitted to starting that left 11 residents temporarily homeless, endangered them and caused minor harm to one of them.

After his defense attorney, Michael Mercure, questioned investigator Joseph Bearor on the circumstances surrounding Gyarmathy’s statement, Village Justice Paul Manchester found cause to send him to the grand jury in Washington County.

And Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright said he intends to upgrade the charges for both Gyarmathy and his accomplice, Joseph Guerrier, to attempted murder.

“We believe the facts of the case support attempted murder,” Kortright said on Thursday, referring to the 15 people who were in the building at the time of the fire.

Among other questions during the hearing, Mercure asked Bearor how the defendant originally became a lead.

“We interviewed any people with connections to those in the apartment building or those with a possible beef,” Bearor said. Mercure went on to ask a number of questions ensuring Gyarmathy was free to leaving during interrogation, as he was not in custody.

However, Gyarmathy stayed and confessed his motive and means for starting the fire. During the hearing, he kept his head down and occasionally shook it in apparent disapproval of his own actions.

Guerrier chose not to have a preliminary hearing but still faces charges.

Kortright said the case should be complete from indictment through trial within three months. He said he has much praise for Granville police, state and county fire investigators and state police.

“I can’t say enough about what a professional job they did,” Kortright said.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekender – 03/27/15

Northshire Freepress – 03/27/15

Lakes Region Freepress – 03/27/15

North Country Freepress – 03/27/15

Classifieds 03/25/14

Search for Sasquatch resumes, forty years later

Statue 2

By Dan King It’s been 40 years since the first reported Sasquatch sighting in Whitehall and now the quest to […]

Apathy leaves trustee seat vacant

Candidate pic Ken Bartholomew

By Dan King Whitehall’s mayor-elect, Ken Bartholomew was hoping someone would emerge to take his old trustee position, but that […]

Jane O’Shea resigns, cites issues with board

Jane O'Shea BW

By Derek Liebig A Granville principal is resigning at the end of the school year because of a disagreement over […]

Whitehall Elks honor three for service

New Elks officers are sworn into office

By Dan King Ken McKee, an old Whitehall Elk, used to tell his kids that the acronym BPOE stood for […]

Reelected, incumbents face challenges

By Derek Liebig Members of the Granville Village Board will be together for at least two more years. Incumbents Dean […]

Keough to plant community garden

Jensen Keough

By Dan King A Whitehall High School student has come up with a creative way to support local charity and […]

Whitehall school officials want bobsled club back

By Dan King Until this year, Whitehall High School was the only school in the country with a bobsled club, […]