Arson receives lengthy prison sentence

The man who set fire to a Mettowee Street apartment has been sentenced to 14 years in state prison.

Upon his guilty plea to second-degree arson, 44-year-old Stephen Gyarmathy, of Porters Corners, was also sentenced last week to five years of post release supervision following his term.

The sentence followed allegations that on March 25, Gymarthy and co-defendant Joseph Guerrier drove to Mettowee Street in Granville, where Gyarmathy set fire to a residence with 13 people inside. The fire was started at the base of the only stairwell providing egress for the upstairs occupants, and residents had to be rescued from the roof.

No one was injured, and firefighters and police officers on the scene quickly knocked down the fire. The office of District Attorney Kevin Kortright said Gyarmathy had been permitted to plead guilty with a sentence of not less than 12 years and not more than 16 years in exchange for his truthful testimony against Guerrier.

Guerrier had consistently asserted that he believed Gyarmathy was intending to put sugared gas in the gas tank of a resident’s car and was unaware that he had started a structure fire. Gyarmathy, however, asserted that Guerrier knew the true intent prior to starting the fire. 

During Guerrier’s trial, Gyarmathy was hospitalized with a documented contagion for an extended period precluding his ability to testify at Guerrier’s trial.

New York State Police and Granville Village Police, with assistance from the Hudson Falls Police Department, Washington County Fire Investigation Unit and New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, investigated the case.

“While all involved acted exceptionally in identifying and prosecuting the culprits, District Attorney Kevin Kortright wishes to recognize Granville Village Police Officer Thomas J. Zovistoski and Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy David Buxton in particular. Their prompt response prevented greater tragedy,” officials said.

 

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