Defendant in arson cases accepts plea deal with 10-year prison cap
A Batavia man accused of starting fires on three different occasions in January entered guilty pleas in County Court Wednesday to counts of arson in each, the second and third degrees.
Matthew Zakrzewski, 42, is likely to be sentenced to 10 years in state prison on Sept. 14 as part of a plea agreement he accepted.
Zakrzewski was facing several other felonies -- which have not yet been presented to a grand jury for possible indictment -- and without the plea deal could have been sent to prison for up to 25 years.
In court today, Zakrzewski admitted to starting a fire at Washington Towers on Jan. 16, and on the same date, setting a 2009 Jeep Patriot on fire.
As part of the plea, Zakrzewski agreed to pay more than $10,000 in restitution to the arson victims.
His attorney, Fred Rarick, raised a concern about the restitution agreement because Washington Towers made a claim for replacement property in new condition, which the law doesn't require.
Rarick said he was looking for legal, fair, and equitable restitution.
District Attorney Kevin Finnell said the plea offer included stipulation to restitution as claimed, and if Zakrzewski didn't want to accept those terms, Finnell was ready to present the case to a grand jury.
At that point, Zakrzewski piped up and said, "Mr. Rarick, it's fine."