Wednesday, January 16, 2019




Peekskill man sentenced to prison in Newburgh arson case


GOSHEN – A Peekskill man who operated a bodega at 435 Broadway in the City of Newburgh was sentenced by Orange County Court Judge William DeProspo to 17 years in state prison and five years of post-release supervisor for torching the store with gasoline knowing that the building was occupied upstairs by a tenant.

Jesus Cruz, 44, was convicted following a November jury trial of arson and reckless endangerment.

The jury found that on September 22, 2017, Cruz intentionally damaged the building by setting the fire when he knew that another person was in the building, or that there was a reasonable possibility that someone was in the building.

During the trial prosecutors argued Cruz was angry when fire inspectors had ordered electricity be cut off to the building due to unsafe conditions. A witness testified that she saw Cruz leave the store at about 10:50 p.m. immediately before seeing an explosion and flames shoot out.

Prosecutors also argued Cruz was experiencing severe financial difficulties and had recently procured a new fire insurance policy.

District Attorney David Hoovler said the Newburgh Fire Department not only extinguished the fire but aided in the investigation and prosecution of the case. He also credited the Westchester County Police Department, whose arson K-9 Daisy aided in the investigation.


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