Attorneys argue if man accused of setting fire inside Target is competent

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – A man accused of setting a fire inside the Target in Amherst was in State Supreme Court on Friday as attorneys argued over his sanity.

Two psychiatrists who evaluated William Lattin for the prosecution report he is competent to stand trial. But a psychiatrist hired by the defense reported Lattin is not competent to stand trial.

During the minutes-long hearing, Lattin had several outbursts.

At one point, he said, “I’d like to plead guilty right now to time served.”

The judge asked him, “Mr. Lattin, hold on just a minute, you don’t want to speak until you speak with your lawyer.”

Lattin responded, “No, misdemeanor, six and a half months, time served.”

Lattin’s attorney, Robert Cutting, told reporters his client is not mentally fit to stand trial.

“Anyone who spends any time in the presence of Mr. William Lattin becomes abundantly clear to them, this gentleman is just very mentally ill. And it’s not his fault, he’s just very mentally ill,” he said.

In fact, the attorney said, that kind of a plea deal that Lattin wanted to plead guilty to has not even been offered.

A competency hearing has been scheduled in Judge Shelia DiTullio’s courtroom for May. Until then, Lattin is being held at the Erie County Holding Center. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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