Schenectady man pleads guilty to setting his home on fire – New York News

SCHENECTADY — A man who set fire to his own home in April was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty Monday in court.

Kenneth M. DeMello, 36, of 853 Cleveland Ave., pleaded to one count of fourth-degree arson, a felony. 

He started the April 2 fire by spreading gasoline around the downstairs of the single-family home, according to court documents.

No one else was home at the time, fire officials have said. No firefighters were injured.

A neighbor alerted the fire department to the blaze just before 6:30 p.m., officials said. Firefighters arrived to find the fire in the kitchen area, near the stove, and extinguished it in 10 to 15 minutes.

Beyond the fire damage in the kitchen, the rest of the structure’s first floor sustained smoke and heat damage.

In court Monday, DeMello’s attorney made clear that DeMello’s plea meant he was giving up certain potential defenses, including an intoxication defense.

DeMello could have taken the case to trial, but if the intoxication defense didn’t work, he would have faced at least 3 years and 6 months and as much as 15 years in prison.

Kouray noted DeMello was the sole owner of the home.

Judge Kathleen Hogan indicated she accepted the plea because no one else was inside the building, DeMello acknowledged responsibility and is seeking treatment for issues he has. She did not elaborate on those issues.

DeMello is to be sentenced later. He remains free pending sentencing after earlier being released on $60,000 bond.

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