Man sentenced in fatal fire

ALBANY — A Schenectady man was sentenced to nine years in prison for lying under oath about a fatal 2013 fire case that also saw a St. Johnsville man sentenced to 9 years in prison.

Bryan Fish, 23, Schenectady was sentenced Wednesday to 9 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for making false declarations before a federal grand jury investigating an arson that killed four people in Schenectady.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict of the New York Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Fish plead guilty on May 31, admitting that he lied under oath to a federal grand jury investigating the fire, which occurred on or about May 2, 2013 at 438 Hulett St. in Schenectady.

The fire killed David Terry, 32, and three children — Michael Terry, 3, Layah Terry, 2, and Donovan Duell, 11 months old. Another child, Safy’re Terry, then 5, was seriously injured by the blaze, which destroyed the building.

Fish admitted that on May 24, 2013, he provided false testimony regarding his brother, whom Fish claimed drove him, Jennica Duell, the children’s mother, and another man from Saratoga Springs to the vicinity of 438 Hulett St. in the early morning hours of May 2, 2013, popped the trunk so that the other man could remove a gas can, and later drove part of the way back to Saratoga Springs.

Fish is the fourth person to be sentenced for lying to the federal grand jury investigating the 438 Hulett St. fire.

∫ On March 17, 2016, Edward Leon, age 45, of St. Johnsville, New York, was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a jury trial.

∫ On September 12, 2016, Duell, age 29, of Schenectady was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in prison following a guilty plea.

∫ On May 31, 2017, Richard Ramsey, age 48, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced to 87 months in prison following a guilty plea.

A man named Robert Butler was initially charged with arson resulting in personal injury and death. Butler was released from custody and the charges against him were dropped in February 2014, reportedly following changes in testimony by several people.

No one has been charged with starting the fire.

“Bryan Fish, Jennica Duell, Edward Leon, and Richard Ramsey lied to a grand jury investigating one of the worst crimes in the Capital Region in recent memory. The sentences reflect the horror of the underlying crime and the defendants’ disregard for the law and the innocent lives lost. We will not let lies stand in the way of securing justice for the victims and their families, and of bringing to justice the person or people responsible for this deadly arson. We remain committed to continuing the investigation until justice is done,” Jaquith said in a news release.

“The fire in Schenectady at 438 Hulett Street caused death and destruction that will affect [several] families forever. Fish and the other individuals sentenced for lying to a federal grand jury will not prevent us from determining who was responsible for this heinous crime. The victims and their families will not be forgotten,” Benedict said in a news release.

This case resulted from an ongoing investigation being conducted by the ATF, the Schenectady Police Department, and the Schenectady Fire Department. The case was prosecuted by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Assistant United States Attorney Wayne A. Myers.

There is a reward of up to a total of $40,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or person responsible for the arson. All information will be treated confidentially and the callers will remain anonymous, if requested.

Anyone having information is encouraged to call ATF at 1-888-283-3473, or email [email protected], or contact ATF through its web site at www.atf.gov/contact/atf-tips. Tips may also be submitted to ATF through the “report it” app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting www.reportit.com.

By Patricia Older

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