2 suspects go to Troy in fatal arson
2 waive extradition, 3rd to have hearing in North Carolina
By Kenneth C. Crowe II Updated 9:45 pm, Monday, June 8, 2015
Two of the three suspects in the fatal May 1 arson have waived extradition from North Carolina while the third will have a hearing next week on returning to Troy, a spokesman for Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove said Monday.
The three are charged with first-degree arson for allegedly setting the fire, which authorities now believe caused the death of Gladys Halpin, 82.
Halpin was rescued from the 520 Second Ave. apartment building fire, during which she suffered a heart attack. Firefighters were able to revive her and get her to the hospital. She died May 23 at Bay State General Hospital in Massachusetts. Final autopsy results have not yet been released.
On Sunday, David Stanley, 22, of East Greenbush, was arraigned in City Court and sent to the jail without bail, police spokesman Capt. Daniel DeWolf said. He had previously waived extradition in North Carolina before being brought to Troy.
On Monday, Tyler Smith, 24, formerly of Castleton, waived his extradition at a hearing in Raleigh, N.C., and will be back in Troy by the end of the week, said Jonathan Desso, a spokesman for Abelove.
Abby Slaga, 21, of East Greenbush, did not waive extradition because she wanted to consult with an attorney, Desso said. Slaga's hearing will be June 16 in Franklin County, N.C. She will continue to be held on a fugitive from justice warrant in the Franklin County Jail without bail.
Stanley, Slaga and Smith were arrested last week by Raleigh police and Franklin County deputies on fugitive warrants issued in Troy. City detectives took part in the arrests.
DeWolf said detectives would return to Raleigh to bring back Smith.
According to Stanley's arrest report and criminal complaint, at least two people have given statements to police about what they saw and heard that night.
Those witnesses said Monday that the three defendants and a man who lived on the second floor of 520 Second Ave. had a feud over money that was apparently stolen from the tenant.
"They spray painted 'Rapo' on his door and on the building," said one witness who did not want his name used. "He was a Level 1 sex offender, we were told, but it sounded to me like they were arguing over money. I could smell the gasoline they used to set the fire outside his door."
The target of the flames was convicted of a sex crime in 2004, officials said.
Another witness said she had just come home from work that night and heard the argument and went to see what was going on.
"Then I saw the whole building just go 'boom' and saw the three people run out the door, one on fire. I then rushed around to make sure everyone was getting out."
Smith had been out of state prison for just a week before he allegedly took part in setting the fatal fire, according to authorities and New York state inmate records. He had been in prison for attempted burglary in Rensselaer County.
The three fled to the home in North Carolina of a relative of one of the suspects.
Officials said all three were friends and Slaga was involved in a romantic relationship with one of the men, but they did not specify which one.
Officials declined to say how the fire was set.
A video from the night of the fire appeared to show three people fleeing the building at 520 Second Ave.
The fire spread to neighboring 518 Second Ave. next door. Both buildings were heavily damaged and are now boarded up.
The investigation continues, and authorities have not ruled out additional charges.
The May 1 fire has not been linked to an earlier string of 13 fires set in Lansingburgh between July 2014 and February 2015, police said.
Today we learned the fate of these vigilante scumbags:
TROY, NY (WRGB) Three people involved in setting a fire that lead to the death of an elderly Lansingburgh woman learned their fate Thursday.
82-year-old Grace Halpin shortly after fire broke out at 520 Second Ave. in May 2015.
Tyler Smith had pleaded guilty to arson and manslaughter.
Tyler Smith was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Back in August, 23-year-old David Stanley plead guilty to one count of arson and one count of manslaughter and will spend 22 years behind bars.
A third person, Abbey Slaga was sentenced to 2 and 1/3 to 7 years in prison for her role in the fire.
That fire also left 13 people homeless.