Arrest made in fatal Schenectady fire

Posted at: 05/03/2013 8:33 AM
Updated at: 05/03/2013 7:50 PM
By: WNYT Staff

SCHENECTADY – A Saratoga Springs man is accused of intentionally setting the fire that killed three children and their father in Schenectady.

27 year-old Robert Butler was arraigned Friday morning on an arson charge.

Investigators have been working around the clock here at the burned out home -- as they try to piece together a case against Butler, but they are certain he's the one who started the deadly fire on Thursday morning.

27 year-old Robert Butler was quiet on his way out of Schenectady City Court Friday morning. He seemed emotional -- at times looking around the courtroom when he went before the judge.

Police say he was charged with one count of arson in the first degree which is an a1 felony.

Police say Butler deliberately set the fire at 438 Hulett Street in Schenectady on Thursday. The fast moving blaze killed 32-year-old David Terry along with his three children -- ages three, two and 11 months old.

Terry's 5-year-old daughter Sa’Fyre was also hurt in the fire. She's clinging to life at the Westchester Medical Center's burn unit.

Police say butler was at the house just before the fire.

NewsChannel 13 has learned from relatives that butler was dating the children's mother Jennica Duel.

Police would not say what led them to butler or how the fire started. They say it takes time and effort to find clues, a cause and origin to build a solid case.

ATF along with team of county and city investigators are helping in the process. They will tear down the building once they're done.

Butler was taken to the Schenectady County jail without bail. Police say more charges are likely. They're waiting for the victim's autopsy results.

Butler is due back in court on May 7.