Man gets maximum prison time for setting house on fire
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - A man who set a 1998 house fire that
critically injured two children, including his 9-month-old
daughter, was sentenced to the maximum 25 years to life in prison.
Onondaga County Judge William Walsh said it was "miraculous"
infant Jordan Micheletti and Anna Curtis, 14, survived after being
rescued from the fire.
"Their humanity overcame your inhumanity. Their courage
overcame your cowardice," Walsh said Wednesday as he sentenced
Shondell Butler, 30.
A jury earlier this month convicted Butler of first-degree arson
for setting the Sept. 16, 1998 fire. Butler was not charged until
earlier this year when authorities said witnesses decided to break
their silence about what had happened.
Authorities blamed the fire on a paternity dispute between
Butler and Christine Micheletti, 20, who lived at the residence
with their daughter, Jordan. Curtis is Micheletti's cousin.
Micheletti, Curtis and the baby were asleep in the second-floor
apartment when the fire broke out. Micheletti escaped, but
firefighters had to crawl into the house to search for the girls
after Curtis collapsed while trying to rescue the baby. Both were
critically injured but survived.
Besides the arson conviction, Butler also was found guilty of
two felony charges of third-degree intimidating a witness for
allegedly trying to keep witnesses from telling what they knew
about the fire.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)