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Watertown man admits causing fire at Curtis Apartments while cooking meth


A Watertown man admitted Friday in Jefferson County Court that he started a fire in his 108-unit apartment complex while cooking methamphetamine in January.

Steven W. LaClair, 46, pleaded guilty to third-degree unlawfully manufacturing methamphetamine and second-degree reckless endangerment. He admitted that on Jan. 29, he possessed materials needed to make meth in his fourth-floor apartment at Curtis Apartments, 336 W. Main St. He also admitted that he started a fire that created a serious risk of injury to other tenants, many of whom are elderly and some of whom are physically handicapped. No one was injured.

Mr. LaClair is expected to be sentenced May 28 to six months’ time served at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building and five years’ probation.

In other court activity:

Richard E. Reinhardt II, 22, Fort Drum, pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary. He admitted that sometime in September, with another man, he entered a unit at U Lock It Storage, 26842 Holbrook Road, Evans Mills, intending to steal something. Police said at the time of his arrest that an all-terrain vehicle, three firearms and other items were taken. Mr. Reinhardt is expected to be sentenced May 31 to 1 to 4 years in state prison and be ordered to pay $13,770 in restitution. Charges against Dominic M. Walters, 22, Fort Drum, remain pending from the incident. Both men also face multiple burglary counts in Lewis County.

Tyler J. Maitland, 19, formerly of the town of Richland, but now incarcerated in Elmira Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary. He admitted that on March 1, 2012, he entered a town of Ellisburg property belonging to John McGrew with the intent to steal. According to a grand jury indictment handed up in October, two furnaces and a mobile home axle were stolen. Mr. Maitland is expected to be sentenced April 19 to one to three years in prison and be ordered to pay $4,369 in restitution in the form of a civil judgment. His prison sentence will run concurrently with a one- to seven-year sentence imposed March 14 in Oswego County Court for a third-degree burglary conviction.

Derek J. Wagoner, 31, of 43785 First St., Redwood, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal trespass. He admitted that in August, he stole $1,000 from the Fishers Landing residence of Lloyd J. Young. He entered an Alford plea to a second trespass count, meaning he did not admit to the underlying facts in the case, but was pleading guilty to avoid the possibility of being convicted of a more serious offense at trial. He had been charged in January with stealing a stereo unit from a garage on County Route 192 in Redwood. He is expected to be sentenced June 7 to six months in the PSB, followed by three years’ probation.

Dustin C. Stacy, 22, of 639 Olive St., pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct. He admitted that last April 11, he had sexual contact with a 16-year-old female. He is expected to be sentenced June 5 to six years’ probation and be ordered to register with the state as a sex offender.

Gary A. Collins, 35, an inmate at Midstate Correctional Facility, Marcy, formerly of Watertown, pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of prison contraband. He admitted that while incarcerated at the PSB in February 2011, he possessed tobacco products, matches and other prohibited items. He subsequently was sentenced to time served, concurrent with a one- to three-year sentence imposed in June 2010 in County Court for grand-larceny and criminal-mischief convictions. He was released under parole supervision in February 2011 and was returned to prison in October for a parole violation.

Marcus W. Megan, 21, Alexandria Bay, admitted violating probation and was resentenced to one to three years in prison. He was serving five years’ probation imposed in April 2011 for third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal trespass convictions. He admitted violating probation by failing to follow through with treatment recommendations made by his probation officer, continuing to use illegal substances and being arrested for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance on Dec. 30 in New York City.

Jeremy M. Miller, 22, Glen Park, was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay a total of $7,761 in restitution for Feb. 4 guilty pleas to fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny as a result of separate incidents. He was accused of stealing a 2004 Saturn Ion from Paul Cedar on Sept. 14. State police said at the time that Mr. Miller slammed the vehicle into a barn at county routes 75 and 76 in the town of Ellisburg and then fled the accident scene. He also was accused in a grand jury indictment handed up in July of stealing more than $1,000 worth of property from his grandmother, Nancy P. Goodwin, between May 1 and July 31, 2011, in Watertown.

Timothy S. Fowler, 23, Copenhagen, was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge for a Feb. 13 guilty plea to third-degree assault. He admitted that he struck Harley Sanders, causing injury, Jan. 12 in West Carthage.

Thomas P. Kent, 27, and Roseann T. Kent, 32, Fort Stewart, Ga., formerly of Fort Drum, were arraigned on counts of third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. Mr. Kent also faces two additional counts of offering a false instrument for filing. The charges were contained in an indictment unsealed in court.

It is alleged that between May 2010 and September 2011, they received about $10,000 in food stamp benefits to which they were not entitled from the Department of Social Services by filing false information. They both pleaded not guilty to the charges and were sent to the PSB on $10,000 bail.

Jean R. Alectice, 23, Fort Drum, was arraigned on a warrant alleging he is a fugitive wanted in New Jersey on a charge of theft by deception. He waived his extradition rights and agreed to be returned to New Jersey to face matters there.

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