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: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Northshire Freepress 12/19/14

North Country Freepress – 12/19/14

Weekender 12/12/14

Lakes Region Freepress 12/19/14

Classifieds 12/17/14

Girls fall to Greenwich in opener

A stingy defense was too much for Granville to overcome in season opener Friday night. Granville was held to seven […]

Girls compete with Cougars

The Whitehall girls’ basketball team (0-3) is still seeking its first win of the season. However, the girls stuck with […]

Boys’ hoops handed first loss

After leaping out to a 2-0 start, the Whitehall boys’ basketball team was grounded at North Warren, 65-43. To say […]

Main Street rebounding, says dog salon owner

Dog Salon

By Dan King Malin Shepherd’s new dog salon on Main Street is a sign, she says, that the street is […]

What are you drinking?

Whitehall water

By Dan King If you live in the Village of Whitehall, your drinking water is perfectly healthy. That’s what the […]

Dared by friends, she write a novel

Author

By Derek Liebig It started with a dare. A few years ago, Granville resident Michele Sargent was having lunch with […]

Town to host hearing on fire protection

By Derek Liebig The town board will hold a public hearing later this month on proposed contracts for fire protection […]