Grand Island Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Arson for Causing Apartment Fire

Modified: January 31, 2020 9:51am

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 34-year-old Robert L. Shoemaker of Grand Island pleaded guilty before Erie County Court Judge Suzanne Maxwell Barnes to one count of Attempted Arson in the Second Degree, a Class “C” felony. He pleaded guilty on January 30, 2020.

On January 31, 2019, at approximately 10:00 p.m., the defendant caused a fire in his Ransom Road apartment by setting clothing ablaze using a lighter.

The fire was largely contained to the defendant’s apartment and a hallway, but eleven neighboring residents had to be evacuated from the building. Damage to the building was estimated at approximately $100,000 at the time of the incident.

Shoemaker faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. He remains held without bail.

DA Flynn commends the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Island Fire Department for their work in responding to the fire and investigating the incident.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nathanael C. Kapperman of the DA’s Felony Trials Bureau.