ONEONTA – Moments ago, Gabriel Truitt, 33, was arrested in the basement of 95 Main St., right next to police headquarters, for the Dec. 29 fatal fire that killed former city firefighter John Heller, 38.
ONEONTA – Police Chief Douglas Brenner said a few minutes ago his department is gathering information that will allow it to bring the U.S. Marshals Office into the search for Gabriel Truitt, the former proprietor of the Tru Cut barber shop being sought in the Dec. 29 fatal fire on Walling Avenue.
The step taken by an Otsego County Grand Jury, which issued an indictment against Truitt on Wednesday, facilitates getting the Marshals Office involved, the chief said. Previously, the OPD had been empowered only by a warrant to apprehend the suspect.
ONEONTA – Gabriel Truitt, the brother of the man originally arrested in the Dec. 29 fatal fire at 5 Walling Ave., has been indicted for first-degree murder and other counts, District Attorney John Muehl said a few minutes ago.
Truitt’s brother, Terrence, spent five weeks in Otsego County Jail, but was freed Feb. 11 when it became clear to authorities he had not committed the crime.
A grand jury yesterday returned four counts against Gabriel Truitt. In addition to first-degree murder, that included one count of first-degree arson, and two counts of second-degree murder.
“Our theory is he intended to kill his ex-girlfriend,” Muehl said, “but instead he killed Mr. Heller,” referring to John Heller, 38, who lived in the third-floor apartment. That he intended to commit a murder is transferrable, even though Heller was not the intended victim, he said.
ONEONTA – Terrence Truitt, 34, suspected in the arson death of former firefighter John Heller last Saturday in the 5 Walling Ave. fire, had his felony hearing rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. today. He was brought to the city’s Public Safety Center at 8:30 this morning, but did not appear in the courtroom during the regular morning session.
ONEONTA – Within hours of Saturday morning’s fire that claimed the life of former Oneonta firefighter John D. Heller, the leads began to pour in.
“We had more than 70 leads,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner an hour ago at a press conference held jointly with Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon. “And the investigation is continuing.”
The men reported Terrence Truitt, 34, Oneonta, was arrested and charged with first-degree arson, which investigators believe started on the second floor of 5 Walling Ave.
Heller and his fiancee, Amber Roe, lived on the top floor, and had their four nephews staying with them that night. Heller and Roe helped the children escape, but then was unable to get out of the building.
COOPERSTOWN – As one, county representatives bowed their heads for a “moment of silence” at this morning’s meeting in remembrance of John D. Heller, the former OFD on-call firefighter who died Saturday, Dec. 29, in a fire on Oneonta’s Walling Avenue.
County Rep. Dan Wilber, R-Town of Burlington, proposed the observance, noting Heller’s heroism: His sister-in-law said he died while rescuing his four nephews and fiance from the flames.
In a related development, Oneonta Police Chief Douglas Brenner and Fire Chief Patrick Pidgeon scheduled a press conference at 5 p.m. to provide “an update on the investigation.”
ONEONTA – A funeral for John Heller, the former firefighter who died rescuing his four nephews and fiancee in the Saturday morning fire at his Walling Avenue home, will be at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4 at the Bookhout Funeral Home.
Calling hours will be 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3.
Heller served with the Oneonta Fire Department in an on-call and part-time capacity from 2002-2009.
ONEONTA – John Heller, the former Oneonta firefighter who died when his home at 5 Walling Ave. caught fire Saturday morning, was trapped while helping his fiancee and his nephews escape the blaze, his sister-in-law reported.
“What began as a fun sleepover with their uncle John and soon-to-be aunt Amber turned into a nightmare,” Erika Heller, his sister-in-law, wrote in a Facebook post Sunday morning. “He died because he did everything he could to make sure that his fiancee and my sons were out of the home safely.
DAVENPORT – The names of the victims in Friday’s fatal apartment fire in Davenport have been released, according to state police.
Kiley J. Sullivan, 3 and Cody E. Sullivan, 1, died as a result of the fire at 498 Dehning Rd., in the town of Davenport. Their father, Carmen E. Sullivan, 44, was taken to Upstate Medical in Syracuse for burn juries.
DAVENPORT – Two children, ages one and 3, were identified as the victims in the fatal structure fire early this morning in the Town of Davenport.
According to a release posted to the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services Facebook page, the 911 call was received this morning at 1:46 a.m. Arriving at the scene, responding units found the four-unit apartment building fully engulfed in flames, with reports of two children trapped in one of the upstairs apartments.
DAVENPORT – Two children were killed and one adult hospitalized with burn injuries after a house fire in in the Town of Davenport.
According to a news release, State Police responded to a Delaware County 911 call at 1:46 a.m. reporting a structure fire at 435 Dehning Road. The fire was extinguished by Davenport Fire Dept., Pindars Corners Fire Dept., Hobart Fire Dept., and Kortright Fire Dept, but an investigation determined that two children died in the fire, and one adult victim was taken to Upstate Medical in Syracuse for burn injuries.