Feds offer $12K reward for info in fatal Schenectady arson

Posted at: 02/12/2014 9:43 AM
Updated at: 02/12/2014 6:37 PM
By: Dan Bazile

Investigators spent hours at the scene of a fatal fire on Hulett Street in Schenectady in May.
Investigators spent hours at the scene of a fatal fire on Hulett Street in Schenectady in May.

SCHENECTADY - The man accused of intentionally starting a fire that killed a father and his three young children in Schenectady last year, is off the hook.

Outraged family and friends are holding a rally on Wednesday evening to protest the decision.

Federal prosecutors say they dropped the charges against Robert Butler for a number of reasons, including information that others, may have been involved.

“I made my brother a promise that I would see justice done, and I will never give up, ever,” said Liz Dolder, the sister of one of the victims who died in the fire.

Dolder says investigators are doing their best in the effort to find the arsonist. ATF and local law enforcement announced a combined reward of $12,000 on Wednesday, to anyone with information that will lead to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

“We're very happy with the reward. I think it's the key to making that missing link come forward,” says Dolder.

The reward comes just days after charges was dropped against Robert Butler, the man accused of setting the fire on may second last year. Police say the blaze killed Dolder's brother David Terry and his three children -- Layah, Michael and Donavan. Another child, five year-old Safire, is still recovering at the hospital, according to family members.

“Four of them are gone and will never be a part of this community again, and there's a killer out there on the loose and free to do this to another family,” said Dolder.

The charges against Butler were dropped without prejudice, which means prosecutors can still press charges against him with more evidence. His release is why Dolder says she organized Wednesday’s rally.

“We want justice. We want the truth. There have been so many lies,” said Dolder.
Butler’s attorney says he shares law enforcement's desire to find the criminal. However, he says his client is innocent.