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District Attorney

Posted on: November 16, 2023

DA Hoovler Announces EADA Stewart Rosenwasser Receives Arson Prosecutor of the Year Award

District Attorney Hoovler Announces Executive Assistant District Attorney Stewart Rosenwasser Receives Arson Prosecutor of the Year Award


Award Issued by International Association of Arson Investigators for Investigation and Conviction in Newburgh Arson Case


Investigator Vincent Spampinato Also Received Award for Arson Investigator of the Year for His Part in Investigation


Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on November 14, 2023, the International Association of Arson Investigators, New York State Chapter 23 awarded Executive Assistant District Attorney Stewart Rosenwasser with Arson Prosecutor of the Year for the investigation and ultimate conviction after jury trial of Zef Gjurashaj for an arson for profit in the Town of Newburgh.  Also receiving an award at the ceremony was Investigator Vincent Spampinato, Criminal Investigator for New York State Dept of Financial Services and former Town of Newburgh Detective for his role in the investigation.  Numerous other law enforcement and private sector investigators who assisted with the case were also recognized.  The award for EADA Rosenwasser comes twenty-one (21) years after the same award was given to District Attorney Hoovler, who was then an Assistant District Attorney.  DA Hoovler’s 2002 award was for his successful arson prosecution before then County Court Judge Rosenwasser.


In September, 2022, Zef Gjurashaj was convicted after jury trial in the Orange County Court of all counts considered by the jury, including Arson in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, two counts of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, Insurance Fraud in the Second Degree, and Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree.  Gjurashaj was later sentenced to a total of twenty-two and one-third years (22 1/3) to life in prison for having burned down his restaurant for profit in 2017.  The investigation into the case was conducted by the Town of Newburgh Police, who were assisted in the investigation of the fire by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York State Department of Financial Services, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.


District Attorney Hoovler thanked the International Association of Arson Investigators, New York State Chapter 23 for honoring these well-deserved individuals.


“I am thrilled that Stewart Rosenwasser and Vincent Spampinato were again recognized for their incredible work on this challenging case,” said District Attorney David. M. Hoovler. “I, for one, know what it takes to put in the hard work in order to become the Arson Prosecutor of the Year.  Arson for profit is, by its nature, an incredibly challenging crime to prosecute because of the complexity of the evidence as well as because, as in this case, the perpetrator often intentionally attempts to destroy any link between themselves and the crime.  The tenacity of these investigators, as well as others from multiple agencies, resulted in the just result obtained in this case.”


Awards given:


Town of Newburgh

Chief Fire Inspector Gerald Canfield 

Asst Fire Inspector / Investigator Joeseph Mattina 

Police Sgt Vincent Spampinato 

Police Detective Cristopher Shaw 

Police Forensic Detective Shawn Connelly

Police Forensic Detective Adam Zielberger


Orange County DA

Stewart Rosenwasser 

DA Hoovler


New York State Department of Financial Services Fraud Bureau-Arson Unit

Asst Chief Investigator Sean Ralph

Investigator Vincent Spampinato


Westchester County NY Police Arson / Explosion Unit

Detective John Peters 

Arson K-9 “Daisy”


Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms

Special Agent / CFI Elizabeth Goddard NYFD

Task Force Officer Vincent Spampinato NYFD

Financial Auditor Melissa Rodriguez NYFD 


Private Sector Cause & Origin Investigator(s)

Investigator Joseph Myers Sr., Joe Myers Investigations 

Investigator Joseph Myers Jr, Joe Myers Investigations

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