FORT EDWARD — A Hudson Falls man who was arrested last summer after his estranged wife’s home was damaged by fire has pleaded guilty to two charges and been sentenced to jail and probation.
Steven C. Roberts, 38, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aggravated family offense and misdemeanor criminal contempt in connection with two arrests in a span of days last summer.
Roberts was charged with aggravated family offense and lesser counts after a July 24 fire that damaged the exterior of a North Street home where his estranged wife was living.
A neighbor spotted the fire as it smoldered and used a garden hose to knock it down before it did extensive damage. Investigators declared it suspicious, and Roberts told them he had been smoking a cigarette outside the home and discarded a butt near bags of garbage.
The bags apparently ignited and caught vinyl siding on fire, as well as items nearby such as a snow shovel and toys. A neighbor who was outside filling a kiddie pool saw smoke, and took action.
Roberts was not accused of intentionally setting the fire, but had been banned from the home by an order of protection because of prior domestic strife with his wife.
He was then arrested two days later when he was released from jail, but returned to the home again and had contact with his estranged wife, according to Hudson Falls Police.
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Roberts agreed to a plea deal that includes a one-year sentence in Washington County Jail to be followed by 5 years on probation, which were imposed last week by Washington County Judge John Hall.
It was unclear whether restitution for the home damage was required.
Don Lehman covers police and court matters, Warren County government and the outdoors. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or firstname.lastname@example.org