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Man charged with arson in fatal Schenectady fire in federal court

Robert Butler
Robert Butler
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Updated: 6/10/2013 8:21 am

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Robert Butler, 27, accused of starting the Hulett Street fire that killed a man and three young children, will be in court Monday afternoon for a detention hearing after Schenectady County District Attorney Robert M. Carney turned the case over to federal court.

Carney said he made the decision to hand over Butler's to federal court for many reasons, one being that sentencing possibilities in the federal system. He said believed they would be more appropriate in addressing the harm caused by the criminal act.

In federal court, Butler could possibly face the death penalty. 

Butler was charged in a federal complaint with setting the May 2 fire that killed 33-year-old David Terry, 3-year-old Layah Terry, 2-year-old Michael Terry, and 11-month-old Donavan Duell. Five-years-old Safyre Terry was also badly burned and remained in critical condition for a number of days following the incident.

Butler was remanded to custody until a Monday's 1:30 p.m. hearing. He has pleaded not guilty to the state arson charge.

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