SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — A reward of $12,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the arson that occurred in May at 438 Hulett St. in Schenectady resulting in the deaths of three children and one adult.
Robert Butler was previously charged in a federal complaint with setting the May 2 fire that killed 33-year-old David Terry, 3-year-old Layah Terry, 2-year-old Michael Terry, and 11-month-old Donavan Duell. Safyre Terry, 5, was also badly burned and remained in critical condition for a number of days following the incident.
The Saratoga Springs man was arrested shortly after the deadly blaze at 438 Hulett Street. His case was bumped up to the federal court, meaning he could face a possible death sentence.
On Friday, February 7, the United States Attorney's Office dropped their case against Butler.
Court documents state the dismissal stems from the case involving "unusual and complex facts," with the complaint based upon allegations that the defendant used gasoline to start the fire. The documents go on to explain that the gravity of the crime and potential punishments "necessitate further investigation."
The NY ATF announced a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the arson. The Schenectady Police Department and Schenectady County Arson Task Force announced an additional reward of up to $1,500 and $500, respectively for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the same arson.
The combined total of the reward is up to $12,000.
"This senseless and horrific act resulted in the deaths of four people of which three were young, innocent children. ATF is committed and steadfast in our resolve to keeping the public safe and in the apprehension of those individuals who show no regard for people," said ATF New York Field Division Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Cannon. "We are asking the public to provide any information that would lead investigators to those responsible for this heinous act of violence. The victims deserve nothing less."
In addition to the deaths, the fire seriously injured a 5-year old girl who remains hospitalized, and destroyed the entire structure located at 438 Hulett St., Schenectady causing the remaining first floor tenants to be displaced.
The investigation is being conducted by ATF in conjunction with Schenectady Police and Fire Department investigators.
All information will be treated confidentially and the callers will remain anonymous if requested. Anyone having information should call the ATF Albany Field Office at (518) 431- 4182 or email at Email: ATFTips@atf.gov.