NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Matthew Jurado, the North Tonawanda man charged with setting a fire at a volunteer firefighter’s residence, has pleaded guilty to second-degree arson in Niagara County Court.
Jurado will be sentenced on the felony charge by Hon. Matthew Murphy at 1:30 p.m. July 21.
The minimum sentencing for the charge is five years in prison. The maximum sentence is ten.
When asked why he committed the crime in Aug. 2016, Jurado said “I don’t know,” adding that he “wasn’t in his right mind”.
In Aug. 2016, Jurado was charged with setting a fire at the residence of Ken Walker, his neighbor. Walker, a member of the Gratwick Hose Volunteer firefighter, had received a threatening, racist letter demanding that he quit the fire department prior to the fire.
Court documents obtained by News 4 revealed details about Jurado’s conversation with police. According to the documents, he told them he put a plastic bottle containing lighter fluid on Walker’s couch before lighting it.
Two days after the fire, Jurado made his first court appearance to answer for an arson charge. Jurado also did not claim responsibility for the letter.
Previously, Jurado was suspended from a different fire department after he did not complete his training. Walker told police that Jurado asked him to get him an application for the department Walker was a member of — the Gratwick Hose Volunteer Company.
Jurado was informed by Walker via text that he was not allowed to join the department “after what happened,” Walker said in Dec. 2016.