Green: It Shows Suspect Carrying Accelerant
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Video evidence shows accused arsonist Gabriel Truitt, 33, with the accelerant found in front of Heather Engler’s apartment door in the Walling Avenue fire that killed former Oneonta firefighter John Heller, Assistant District Attorney Will Green said during this morning’s arraignment in Otsego County Court.
“Video evidence shows the defendant with isopropyl alcohol going to and from the crime scene,” the prosecutor said.
Truitt, arrested in Oneonta yesterday after a week-long manhunt, pleaded not guilty to the felony charges of arson in the first degree, murder in the first degree and two charges of murder in the second degree, but declined to have the indictment read in open court. He was represented by Lee C. Kindlon of the Kindlon Law Firm in Albany.
Green asked that no bail be set. “The defendant has a long criminal history, was wanted to a separate bench warrant in Laurens for failure to appear and had to be brought in on a warrant,” he said. “We believe he is a flight risk.”
Otsego County Court Judge Brian D. Burns agreed and remanded Truitt back to the Otsego County Jail without bail, but offered Kindlon a chance to file a bail application at a later date.
Truitt’s next court appearance was set for 9 a.m. on Friday, May 24.