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What you need to know for 01/17/2018

Final pair sentenced to prison for Rotterdam bombings

Final pair sentenced to prison for Rotterdam bombings

The final two prison sentences were handed out this week to men who helped carry out a bombing campa

The final two prison sentences were handed out this week to men who helped carry out a bombing campaign in Rotterdam last year, and both apologized for their actions.

Both men also got lectures from Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago, who called their actions “outrageous” and “incredibly violent conduct.” She also told them they must get their drug addictions under control or expect to go back to prison once they get out.

Michael Chambers, 34, formerly of Draper Avenue, Rotterdam, was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison on an earlier guilty plea to second-degree arson. Michael Garry, 32, formerly of Glenville Street, Rotterdam, was sentenced Tuesday to four to 12 years in prison.

Chambers and Garry were among four people charged in a series of bombings in March and April 2012. Authorities say the campaign was led by Lawrence Ahrens and targeted his ex-girlfriend’s new love interest.

Authorities described the bombs as homemade explosive devices that did thousands of dollars in damage and could have caused serious injury had someone been close to them when they went off. No one was hurt.

Ahrens was sentenced earlier this month to 15 years in prison for his role in orchestrating the attacks. His case was before visiting Judge Michael V. Coccoma.

The other defendant, 32-year-old Amy Brzoza, formerly of Kellar Avenue, Rotterdam, was sentenced last week by Drago to 41⁄2 to 131⁄2 years in prison.

Brzoza, Chambers and Garry were all contrite at sentencing, apologizing for their actions. In stark contrast, Ahrens showed up to his sentencing wearing a defiant T-shirt that loudly spoke out against “snitching.” Coccoma ordered him to remove the shirt before proceeding.

Authorities say Ahrens preyed upon his three co-defendants, using their drug addictions to manipulate them.

Drago’s message to Brzoza, Garry and Chambers was that their behavior wasn’t going to be tolerated, drugs or no drugs.

During Wednesday’s sentencing, Chambers told Drago he was sorry for what he did. He said he wasn’t blaming drugs, but drugs played a role.

Chambers was responsible for the later bombings in the spree, which damaged the man’s home.

“I don’t even know what the man looks like,” Chambers said, turning briefly toward the spectators in the gallery, where the victim was sitting. “But I’d like to apologize. I’m sorry for what I did.”

Drago told Chambers his culpability was much bigger than his drug addiction.

“My one piece of advice is for you to get your addiction under control once and for all,” Drago said. “If you don’t want to address those issues, be prepared for this life, just as you are right now.”

For his part, Garry also apologized during his sentencing Tuesday.

Garry was responsible for the earlier incidents at the home, one involving a screwdriver and the other an explosive placed on the man’s truck.

“I’d just like to say I’m sorry for everything. I can’t go back in time,” Garry said. “I hope I’m not judged as a person for this. I hope the world sees it as a mistake.”

Drago told Garry he will be judged on what he does. She noted he has had family support, but didn’t choose to address his addiction then.

“This is the life of an addict,” she told him Tuesday. “If you’re really sincere about what you say, that you wish this didn’t happen and you don’t want to be judged on this action, it’s on you.”

Drago said she believes Garry can do it, but she’s not convinced yet. He has to put in the work and make the commitment, she said.

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