An arsonist who tried to kill his ex-girlfriend's father will spend 20 years in prison, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled today.
The sentencing of Andre L. Scott came near the close of a bizarre hearing in which Scott let it be known that he thought a juror in his trial behaved improperly, that his constitutional rights were violated in a previous conviction out of Monroe County, and that his ex-girlfriend perjured herself under pressure from Batavia Police detectives.
He also accused the detectives of tampering with evidence.
"Everybody in this courtroom knows what happened," Scott said. "They took my DNA and put it on there, on the evidence."
Since Scott's conviction on Aug. 31 following a jury trial, the 31-year-old former Rochester resident fired his trial attorney, Thomas Burns, and was assigned local defense attorney Fred Rarick.
Today, Scott let it be known that he plans to appeal his conviction.
A jury found that Scott attempted to kill his ex-girlfriend's father by pouring gasoline on the stairs of the man's Batavia residence at 12 Elm St. and setting it afire in February 2009.
He was convicted of attempted murder, arson and burglary.
"The defendant started a fire in the stairwell where, if he had been successful, it could have resulted in the death of four people in that residence," District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said. "Only through the prompt response of the fire department did it become a situation where nobody was harmed.
"His continued attitude, and what he said to probation during the presentence investigation, communicates loud and clear that, unless I've missed something, I see no mitigating factors to suggest this defendant should get any less than the maximum, 25 years."
Given a chance to speak in his own defense, Scott immediately launched into a rambling complaint about wanting to file a 330 motion (a motion contesting his conviction), but the jail didn't send it over in a timely manner, the court didn't get it, and something about a juror who is related to somebody who works in corrections.
Noonan tried to get Scott back on track, at which point Scott started to complain about evidence being tampered with and asking that the evidence in his case be taken out of Batavia Police custody.
Noonan cut him off.
"One thing I've noticed about you, Mr. Scott, from the very first time you came before me, is that you focus on entirely different matters than what everybody else is focused on," Noonan said. "You make allegations that have no basis in fact and bring up issues not being discussed, and anyone -- including your own counsel -- who tries to get you to focus (is ignored).
"When I give you every opportunity to tell me what sentence should be imposed, you go off on where evidence is stored and 'what everybody knows,' whatever that means."
After telling Scott that he "committed one of the most serious crimes in our law," Noonan pronounced sentence and then asked if the district attorney's office had any requests for orders of protection.
Friedman requested orders of protection for Scott's ex-girlfriend, her father and one of the witnesses in the case.
"Any objections?" Noonan asked in what is normally a very routine matter at criminal sentencing.
"No, your honor," said Rarick.
"Yes," said Scott loudly, going on to say that his ex-girlfriend had spoken with his mother after she testified and said that police had threatened her if she didn't lie on the witness stand.
After some consultation with his client, Rarick offered up Scott's objection.
Noonan ruled that, if in the circumstance that Scott winds up representing himself and needs to interview her, the order can be modified, otherwise he was issuing the order of protection.