MONTICELL0 – Mohammed Islam was sentenced to 15 years in state prison Monday for manslaughter after the arson he committed resulted in the connection of the death of Billy Steinberg, assistant chief in the Forestburgh Fire Department.
Steinberg suffered a fatal heart attack during the fire January 15, 2022 that was deemed arson. Islam was out on mandatory release following fires he set January 10 and 13, in which he was charged with felony third- and fourth-degree arson.
“Even though it was a felony,” said Sullivan County District Attorney Meagan Galligan,” it was not included in the bail reform statute as a crime we could ask for bail.”
Outgoing State Senator Mike Martucci has helped sponsor legislation known has Billy’s Law, which would close the bail loophole for third- and fourth-degree felony arson.
“Bail reform has been front and center in Albany the entire time I have been in office,” said Martucci. “The state police not only investigated and solved the arsons, but because of bail reform were required to release the defendant. Had bail reform not been place, Bill Steinberg would be with us here today.”
And Galligan agrees that Billy’s Law, if and when enacted, would have prevented Islam’s release and not put Steinberg in harm that day more than 11 month ago.
“We need to reform the bail reform statute, so tragedies don’t happen like this again,” said Galligan. “When a person sets a fire in an unoccupied building and exposes firemen and others to the risk of death, we should be able to ask a court to consider whether that person poses a risk of flight. If they do bail should be fixed.””