Sullivan County Democrat
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Teens Admit Guilt
In Hate Crimes

By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO — July 24, 2001 – A pair of county teens pled guilty Friday to setting a fire at a Kauneonga Lake residence back in April.
Brian Palyi, 16, and Joshua Lucas, 15, entered their guilty pleas in Sullivan County Court for the April 6 fire at the Herbert Finn home.
Palyi and Lucas admitted visiting the Finn home three times that day. They spilled gasoline near the back door on the second visit and used a cigarette lighter to ignite the gasoline when they returned for the third time.
Finn’s wife and six children were in the home at the time of the fire, but none of them were injured, as the fire never really got started.
Palyi pleaded guilty to third-degree arson as a hate crime. As a result, he is expected to spend between three and nine years in prison.
Lucas pleaded guilty to second-degree arson as a hate crime. He will likely be sentenced as a youthful offender, with a maximum sentence of 1 and 1/3 to four years behind bars.
The sentences could have been longer, but the Finn family worked with attorneys for Palyi and Lucas to help broker plea agreements.
Formal sentencing for Palyi and Lucas is set for August 31.

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