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Orange County News For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek October 22, 2020 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney Hoovler Announces Guilty Plea
in Stabbing/Arson Case
City of Newburgh Man Pleads Guilty to Assault in the First Degree, Arson in the Second Degree and Criminal Contempt in the First Degree for Stabbing Woman and
Setting her Residence on Fire
Defendant had been Released with No bail for Assaulting Same Victim Two Days Earlier
Under Bail Reform Statutes No Bail Could Have Been Set by the Judge in
The Original Case
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced on Wednesday October 21, 2020, Anthony Mahabir, 38, of the City of Newburgh, pleaded guilty in Orange County Court before Judge Robert J. Prisoco to Assault in the First Degree, Arson in the Second Degree and Criminal Contempt in the First Degree. The plea was in connection with the March 26, 2020 stabbing of a woman that Mahabir was arrested for having assaulted on March 24, 2020, and intentionally burning the multiple family residence where the victim lived on DuBois Street, in the City of Newburgh. Mahabir had been released without any bail being set after he was arraigned in the City of Newburgh Court on March 24, 2020 on charges of Assault in the Third Degree for having assaulted the woman. Due to then recently enacted bail reform laws, the City of Newburgh Judge had no choice but to release Mahabir without bail. The Court did issue an order of protection, which commanded Mahabir to stay away from the victim. Although there have been some amendments to the “bail reform” laws since this incident occurred, even under current law bail still cannot be set on a defendant charged with Assault in the Third Degree under these circumstances.
At the time that Mahabir pleaded guilty, he admitted that on March 26, 2020 he went to the victim’s apartment building in violation of the order of protection. Mahabir admitted spreading lighter fluid and using matches to ignite a fire on the staircase landing between the second and third floors of the victim’s building which he knew to be occupied. Mahabir admitted that he then proceeded to the victim’s third floor apartment where he stabbed her multiple times in the abdomen and arm. The victim, who suffered serious physical injuries and could not walk, was carried by other residents to the fire escape where she was rescued by emergency personnel.
The District Attorney’s office will recommend that Mahabir be sentenced to a total of eighteen years in state prison when he is sentenced on January 6, 2021. Judge Prisco stated that he would sentence Mahabir to fifteen years in state prison.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Newburgh Police Department for their investigation of the case and Mahabir’s arrest. Hoovler also thanked the City of Newburgh Fire Investigation Unit for assisting in the investigation and the City of Newburgh Fire Department for their response to the fire.
“Protecting victims is one of the most important functions of the criminal justice system and in this case the system failed to protect the victim,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Although some changes to our bail laws were likely warranted, judges should be given discretion to consider an offender’s dangerousness in setting bail. In addition to causing horrendous injuries to the victim, this defendant endangered many others by setting an apartment building in a city on fire, and clearly deserves a lengthy prison sentence.”
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl.
This criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.