Man gets probation for fire

JOHNSTOWN – A town of Mayfield man who set his home and garage on fire last summer was sentenced Monday in Fulton County Court to time served and probation.

James L. Russell Jr., 51, of 912 County Highway 123, was sentenced by Judge Richard C. Giardino to time already served and five years’ probation as part of a plea arrangement. The sentence was based on his Jan. 17 guilty plea to first-degree reckless endangerment.

Russell was charged July 10 by Fulton County sheriff’s deputies in the town of Mayfield. He was originally charged with two felony counts of third-degree arson. At the time, county Sheriff Thomas Lorey said Russell set his house and garage on fire before slitting his own throat in an apparent suicide attempt.

The sheriff said several 911 calls from his neighbors reported seeing the house on fire and a distraught Russell. Lorey said officers tried to talk to him, and one deputy was forced to use his Taser on him after Russell threatened officers with the same knife he ended up cutting his own throat with.

In another case Monday, Peter A. Gray Jr., 21, of Arnold Avenue, Amsterdam, was sentenced by Giardino to one to three years in state prison as part of a plea arrangement. He must also pay more than $4,000 restitution and was assessed a $1,000 fine.

Sentencing was based on Gray’s Jan. 24 guilty plea to one court of fourth-degree grand larceny.

He was charged by Fulton County sheriff’s deputies Oct. 17 in the town of Johnstown. Deputies said Gray was accused of committing burglaries in several of the county’s towns.

On Tuesday, Michael B. Bonfey, 35, of Johnstown, pleaded guilty before Judge Richard C. Giardino to fourth-degree grand larceny.

Sentencing was adjourned until May 24, but he is slated to receive 1 1/2 to three years in state prison as a second felony offender.

Bonfey was charged Sept. 24 by Johnstown police. He had been accused of stealing two Motorola Droid tablets from the Verizon Store on Route 30A.

By -