Nicholas Fontaine, 23, of Monroe, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown on Wednesday, Oct. 27, to second-degree arson 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, which damaged the outside of the residence and destroyed a car in the driveway of the residence.
On Thursday, Oct. 28, Emanuel Watson, 24, of Monroe, admitted acting in concert with Fontaine in setting the fire.
Prosecutors argued that at about 1:40 a.m. 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.
In the press release announcing the guilty please, Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler said each defendant admitted that he had reason to believe that the residence was occupied at the time the fire was started.
No one was injured in the incident.
Fontaine will be sentenced to nine years in state prison and five years post-release supervision, when he is sentenced on Dec. 21.
Watson will be sentenced to five years in prison and five years post-release supervision when he is sentenced on Dec. 14.
“There are few scenarios as frightening as awakening to find that your residence on fire,” Hoovler said. “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.”