News of Otsego County

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Terrence Truitt

NEW EVIDENCE PROMPTS D.A. TO FREE TRUITT

NEW EVIDENCE

PROMPTS D.A.

TO FREE TRUITT

Unnamed New Suspect Is Sought

In Hero’s Death In Oneonta Fire

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

District Attorney John Muehl said that new evidence suggests that Terrence Truitt did not set the fire that killed firefighter John Heller, (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – New evidence obtained by Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl has suggested that Terrence Truitt did not set the fatal fire that killed former Oneonta firefighter John D. Heller.

Muehl said that he plans to ask the courts to release Truitt from the Otsego County Jail this afternoon.

“Our investigation has revealed additional evidence that ethically requires him to be released,” said Muehl.

The arson charges, however, will not be dropped, according to Muehl.

Heller Might Not Have Been Target, Testimony Suggests

Heller Might Not

Have Been Target,

Testimony Suggests

Women’s Apartment Door ‘Covered’

On Floor Below Where Hero Died

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Terrence Truitt, center, is led back into the Otsego County Corrections van following the conclusion of his felony hearing this afternoon. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – A burned spray can was found outside the door of a woman’s apartment at 5 Walling Ave., state investigators told City Judge Lucy Bernier during testimony today.

And the bottom of Heather Engler’s door was “covered,” state Fire Investigator Christopher Lupold testified.

The testimony suggests the woman may have been the target, rather than the man who died: John D. Heller, 38, who was asleep one floor up with his fiancée  and his four nephews.

The spray can, burned beyond recognition, was found amid the debris found during the investigation into the fire that killed the former Oneonta firefighter who helped the four boys and fiancée Amber Roe escape before succumbing to the fire.

Truitt’s Felony Hearing Rescheduled For 1:30 p.m. In Oneonta City Court

Truitt Felony Hearing Scheduled

For 1:30 p.m. In Oneonta Court

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.

Truitt In Court On Arson Charge

Truitt In Court

On Arson Charge

Terrence Truitt, 34, arrives at Oneonta City Court, where he is attending a felony hearing at this hour. According to the felony complaint, investigators believe he intentionally set a fire in the second-floor hallway of 5 Walling Ave. Saturday, Dec. 29. The fire killed former firefighter John Heller, 38, who lived on the third floor; Heller’s funeral is at 1 p.m. today at Foothills. (Libby Cudmore & Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

CHECK BACK FOR FULL REPORT

ON TODAY’S HEARING

Leads Poured In, Leading To Arrest Of Oneonta Man, 34

TERRENCE TRUITT IN CUSTODY

Leads Poured In,

Leading To Arrest

Of Oneonta Man, 34

Police, Fire Chiefs Detail What’s Known

Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon, left, and Police Chief Doug Brenner detail what they know at a 5 p.m. press conference in Oneonta City Hall. For a video of the press conference, click here.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Terrence Truitt

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.

CLICK TO SEE TODAY’S PRESS CONFERENCE

 

ONEONTA MAN, 34 CHARGED IN FIRE

ONEONTA MAN, 34,

CHARGED IN FIRE

Fighting back tears, Fire Chief Patrick Pidgeon, left, and Police Chief Brenner announced that Terrence Truitt, 34, Oneonta, was charged with arson in the fire that killed former firefighter John Heller. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – Terrence Truitt, 34, Oneonta, has been charged with arson in Saturday’s fatal fire where a former fireman died, Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon and Police Chief Doug Brenner report in a press conference earlier this evening.

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