Schenectady County

Man gets five years for Schenectady arson

A man who admitted in federal court to setting a fire at his girlfriend’s Schenectady apartment afte

A man who admitted in federal court to setting a fire at his girlfriend’s Schenectady apartment after an argument was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison.

Kendo George, 26, of Schenectady, pleaded guilty in federal court in May to one count of maliciously destroying a building.

He had faced a maximum of 20 years in federal prison, but five years was the suggested penalty in his plea agreement. The final sentence was determined by Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. George also was ordered to pay nearly $239,000 in restitution for the damage caused by the fire.

He was indicted on federal charges in October 2011, accused of intentionally setting fire at 1520-1522 Broadway on Sept. 28, 2009.

In all, 11 adults and three children lived in the building and two neighboring buildings, officials have said. No residents were hurt in the fire, though a firefighter suffered minor burns.

Authorities hadn’t previously described how the fire started. The plea agreement includes George‘s account.

He admitted to authorities he was at his girlfriend’s apartment around 2 a.m. that morning. After an argument, he started trashing the place, including flipping over furniture. He reported seeing smoke and flames coming out of the television, prior to leaving the apartment.

George admitted he “maliciously damaged or destroyed” the property by means of fire.

Firefighters responded around 3:30 a.m. for a report of smoke. Shortly after they arrived, the smoke turned into flames, with heat and fire damaging neighboring apartment houses at 1516-1518 and 1524-1526 Broadway.

In a sentencing memorandum, George’s attorney, Paul Evangelista, argued for the 60 months, saying it was reasonable and appropriate.

He also asked for a recommendation that George be placed in an intensive drug treatment program while in prison. George has a “significant history” of marijuana use, Evangelista noted, and it played a role in his past criminal offenses.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Moreno.

Helping with the investigation into the fire was a task force of members of the city Police Department, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a relatively new fire investigation unit within the city Fire Department, city fire Capt. Doug Faulisi has said. They also worked with the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

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