ALBANY - The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court in Albany on Thursday upheld the March 1, 2010, conviction of Victor A. Pagan, who was convicted along with his former wife, Aubrey Pagan, and father-in-law, Jeffrey Alnutt, in high-profile area arson cases.
The Pagans, both 27, were convicted in Fulton County Court in connection with a 2004 Gloversville fire of two counts of third-degree insurance fraud, two counts of third-degree grand larceny, second-degree reckless endangerment, fourth-degree conspiracy and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Aubrey Pagan was sentenced to one to three years in state prison, and Victor Pagan was sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years in state prison.
But Aubrey Pagan previously appealed and lost. Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said Thursday she wasn't too surprised the Appellate Division also upheld Victor Pagan's conviction based on a similar ruling involving his former wife.
"Many of the issues were upheld in Aubrey's appeal," Sira said. "I felt very confident when I argued it and submitted my briefs that it would be upheld."
Alnutt - Aubrey Pagan's father - was convicted in December 2009 on all of the 10 counts he faced in connection with a 2004 fire at the 42 Steele Ave. apartment house he owned in Gloversville. The Pagans had lived there along with Jeffrey Hart.
The charges included arson, grand larceny, several counts of insurance fraud, reckless endangerment and conspiracy.
Alnutt also had been convicted in May 2010 of murder, manslaughter, reckless endangerment and arson in connection with a fire Dec. 21, 2007, at 22 Park St., Gloversville, a building he owned. Debra Morris, 39, who lived in the second-floor apartment, died in that fire.
Alnutt was sentenced to a prison term of 25 years to life for that fire. He already was serving a sentence of five to 15 years on a previous arson conviction relating to the Steele Avenue fire.
The state Supreme Court Appellate Division last September affirmed the conviction of Aubrey Pagan stemming from the 2004 fire.
In her appeal, Aubrey Pagan claimed her conviction was based on legally insufficient evidence and that her conviction of reckless endangerment was inconsistent with her acquittal of third-degree arson.
The court also affirmed Victor Pagan's conviction this week. He claimed there was insufficient evidence.
"Initially, [Pagan] contends that his convictions were not supported by legally sufficient evidence and were against the weight of the evidence," the appeals decision states.
The decision further notes Pagan argued the testimony of Steele Avenue co-apartment dweller Hart was "insufficiently corroborated by evidence," but the court didn't agree.
The decision added: "Defendant admitted to police that he was involved in the fire. Additionally, the [prosecution] showed that he purchased renter's insurance about a month before the fire, made a claim afterward and was paid $10,000. There was evidence that the electrical service for the upstairs apartment where defendant claimed to live was in Alnutt's name and that defendant actually shared Pagan's downstairs apartment. Alnutt's former wife testified that neither defendant nor Pagan had leases until after the fire, when she prepared backdated leases at Alnutt's request."
In his appeal, Victor Pagan contended his telephone statements regarding his involvement in the fire should have been suppressed because he was subject to custodial interrogation and was not given Miranda warnings.