SCHENECTADY – A city man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday in connection with a fire at an occupied city home last March, Schenectady County District Attorney’s officials said.
He had also been charged in a second fire that occurred three months later, officials said. No one was hurt in either blaze.
Joshua Robinson, 37, of Schenectady, pleaded guilty earlier to one count of second-degree arson in satisfaction of both investigations, officials said.
Robinson admitted he intentionally set fire to the home at 522 Schenectady St. just before noon March 8, 2022. The occupants escaped without injury, but their property sustained extensive damage.
The investigation was led by a team consisting of Schenectady Fire Investigators cross-designated as District Attorney Investigators, Schenectady police members of the ATF and designated arson prosecutor Michael DeMatteo.
Investigators zeroed in on arson as the cause and Robinson through months of analyzing videos, officials said. Investigators determined it had been set near a window on the first floor in an alley that connected the residence and the building next door, where Robinson resided, officials said.
Schenectady Fire Investigator Chris Apa and Schenectady Police Det. Matthew Kiser collected camera footage from the area, analyzed it and determined Robinson started the blaze, officials said. Smoke could be seen shortly after Robinson exited the alley.
Investigators took Robinson into custody June 10, after another suspicious fire occurred early that day at a vacant building at 536 Schenectady St., officials said.
Robinson was ultimately indicted on charges related to both blazes.
The 2022 charges came 10 years after Robinson went to prison for third-degree arson with a sentence of 18 months to 4.5 years in prison.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney noted his office’s program of assigning fire department personnel as District Attorney investigators after appropriate training and indicated the arrest and sentence show that program’s effectiveness.
“These are complex investigators that require time and dedicated resources, but the crime of arson is so dangerous and destructive, that the resource commitment is warranted,” Carney said in a statement.
Robinson was represented by attorney John DellaRatta. Visiting Judge Tatiana Coffinger presided.