Jury to be picked in arson trial Monday

Jury selection in Fulton County Court will begin Monday in the trial of arson suspect Jeffrey E. Aln

Jury selection in Fulton County Court will begin Monday in the trial of arson suspect Jeffrey E. Alnutt and two family members indicted in January for allegedly burning down an apartment building Alnutt owned on Steele Avenue in Gloversville.

The 55-year-old Alnutt is also waiting to stand trial on a July indictment charging him with murder and arson for a December 2007 fire on Park Street that killed tenant Debra Morris. He allegedly conspired with his daughter and son-in-law, Aubrey and Victor Pagan, both 25, of Slater Avenue, Amsterdam, to start the 2004 fire on Steele Avenue and collect more than $200,000 in insurance money. The Pagans were both tenants on Steele Avenue.

The 10-count January indictment charged the three with various counts of insurance fraud, grand larceny and arson.

The 2004 fire was attributed at the time to cooking oil accidentally left on the kitchen stove.

The 39-year-old Morris, a second-floor tenant, was killed when she returned to her apartment to try to save her cat.

Alnutt’s lawyer, Gerard V. Heckler, could not be reached for comment, but after the January indictment, he said: “My client’s version of what occurred differs dramatically from what is stated in the indictment.”

The indictment charges the three suspects with three counts each of second-degree insurance fraud and third-degree grand larceny and single counts of third-degree arson, second-degree reckless endangerment and fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy.

Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira is prosecuting the case before Judge Richard C. Giardino. She could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Aubrey Pagan is represented by Albany attorney Michael Sutton. The name of Victor Pagan’s attorney could not be obtained Wednesday.

Alnutt is currently serving a federal prison term for weapons possession. He was convicted after selling two shotguns he could not legally own because of his felony record.

The July indictment charges him with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, second-degree arson, third-degree arson and reckless endangerment.

Sira has declined to say how the Park Street fire started, although she said a laboratory analysis identified a petroleum-based product in the first-floor apartment where the blaze began.

Categories: Schenectady County

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