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Orange County News For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek October 28, 2021 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney Hoovler Announces Guilty Pleas
In Arson Case
Monroe Man Admits Setting Former Girlfriend’s House on Fire
Accomplice Admits Aiding in Setting Fire Which destroyed Car and Damaged House
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, Nicholas Fontaine, 23, of Monroe, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown to Arson in the Second Degree, in connection with a house fire which occurred in the early morning hours of May 5, 2021, on Juniper Drive, in Monroe. The defendant’s former girlfriend and her family were in the house at the time the fire erupted damaging the outside of the residence and destroying a car in the driveway of the residence. On Thursday, October 28, 2021, Emanuel Watson, 24, of Monroe, admitted acting in concert with Fontaine in setting the fire.
Prosecutors argued that at about 1:40 AM on May 5, 2021, Fontaine and another had repeatedly poured gasoline over a 2018 Hyundai Elantra automobile belonging to Fontaine’s former girlfriend which was parked next to her residence. Ring camera recordings showed the car being set ablaze and the fire quickly spreading to the siding of the residence, which quickly became engulfed in flames. Each defendant admitted that they had reason to believe that the residence was occupied at the time the fire was started. Fortunately no one was injured in the incident.
Pursuant to the plea agreements placed on the record at the time that each of the defendants pleaded guilty, Fontaine will be sentenced to nine years in state prison and five years post-release supervision, when he is sentenced on December 21, 2021; and Watson will be sentenced to five years in prison and five years post-release supervision when he is sentenced on December 14, 2021.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police for their investigation of the case and the fire companies who responded to the fire.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tanja Beemer.
“There are few scenarios as frightening as awakening to find that your residence on fire,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Arson places not only its intended victims at risk, but also those who occupy nearby residences, as well as the brave first responders who regularly risk their lives to protect our lives and property. I commend the New York State Police for their work on this case, and all the firefighters who prevented this crime from becoming an even greater tragedy.”
This criminal charge is merely an allegation that these defendants committed violations 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.