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Watertown arsonist sentenced to 14 years in prison

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A Watertown man who tried to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend by setting fire to their High Street apartment building was sentenced Friday in Jefferson County Court to 14 years in state prison for the act of jealousy.

Joshua D. Metzler, 26, whose last known address was 717 State St., was sentenced for Sept. 21 guilty pleas to two counts of second-degree attempted murder and single counts of second-degree arson, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree assault. He admitted that on May 15 he set a fire that destroyed 239 High St. in an attempt to kill tenant Ashley L. Carr and Eric P. Daymont II.

Before sentencing was pronounced, Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy F. Intschert told Judge Kim H. Martusewicz that Mr. Metzler’s actions “put the lives of many, many people at risk.” She read a letter written by Jessica V. Lewis, a tenant who suffered a broken tailbone and a sprained ankle when she was forced to jump from a second-story window to escape the blaze and continues to endure back and ankle pain.

Ms. Lewis described waking to a wall of flames and initially believing it was a dream. However, she soon realized that the room was “hot” and that her life was in danger.

“I chose to jump out the second-story window because I had no choice,” Ms. Lewis wrote. “No one should ever have to live through the ordeal I lived through.”

Mr. Metzler apologized to the court, his family and his victims for the harm his actions had caused, saying, “I know what I did was very wrong.”

“There’s not a day that goes by that I won’t beg for forgiveness,” he said. “I’m very ashamed for what I did and I deserve to be punished.”

In addition to the 14-year prison term, Mr. Metzler was ordered to undergo five additional years of supervision upon his release. He also was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution in the form of a civil judgment to the company that insured the building on behalf of its owner, Ricky E. Frazier, Glen Park, and to pay varying amounts of restitution to tenants who lost their belongings in the fire.

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