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Former SUNY Canton student pleads guilty to attempted arson

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CANTON — The former SUNY Canton student accused of setting fire to her Potsdam apartment pleaded guilty Friday morning in St. Lawrence County Court in a plea deal that will put her in prison.

Brandi L. Saumier, 21, of 1071 Buckton Road, Winthrop, pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted arson following negotiations with the district attorney’s office.

On Oct. 25, Ms. Saumier set a fire in her first-floor apartment at 28 Pierrepont Ave., knowing others were in the building at the time. Nine people escaped unharmed from the blaze that destroyed the building.

Following her arrest, Ms. Saumier told police she started the fire with no intention of hurting anyone.

She said she felt mistreated by “everyone and everything,” according to court documents. She said she had not been sleeping or eating well and woke up on the night of the fire with the urge to get rid of her belongings. “I lit a roll” of paper towels “on fire and threw it in the middle of the room,” she said in a statement to police.

As part of the plea deal, St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards has committed to sentencing Ms. Saumier to the minimum of 3½ years in state prison and five years of post-release supervision as recommended by the DA’s office.

Ms. Saumier’s attorney, Peter A. Dumas, Malone, said his client was facing a maximum of 15 years on that charge. She originally had been charged with second-degree arson and would have faced 25 years on that charge, Mr. Dumas said.

In addition to her prison sentence, Ms. Saumier is expected to pay restitution and $375 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 14. She is being held in St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

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