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Grand Island man sentenced for setting fire inside his apartment


Fri, Jan 29th 2021 10:30 am

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn on Thursday announced 35-year-old Robert L. Shoemaker of Grand Island was virtually sentenced that afternoon by Erie County Court Judge Suzanne Maxwell Barnes to a determinate sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison followed by two-and-a-half years of post-release supervision.

On Jan. 31, 2019, at approximately 10 p.m., the defendant caused a fire in his Ransom Road apartment by setting clothing ablaze using a lighter.

The fire was largely contained to the defendant’s apartment and a hallway, but 11 neighboring residents had to be evacuated from the building. Damage to the building was estimated at approximately $100,000 at the time of the incident.

Shoemaker pleaded to one count of attempted arson in the second degree, a Class “C” felony, on Jan. 30, 2020.

As part of his sentence, the court issued an order of protection stating the defendant must stay away from the Ransom Road apartment building.

Flynn commended the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Island Fire Department for their work in responding to the fire and investigating the incident.

The case was prosecuted by assistant district attorneys Nathanael C. Kapperman and James M. Marra of the DA’s felony trials bureau.

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