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Accused arsonist enters 'not guilty' plea

By Geoff Redick

Forty-two-year-old Paul F. Atkinson, of LeRoy, appeared in court today, noticeably limping as he entered courtroom. Atkinson entered a plea of "not guilty" to the charge of felony second-degree Arson.

Atkinson was originally arrested in June, following a destructive fire at his father's Orchard Drive home. Atkinson allegedly admitted to police at the time that he had torched the house after a late-night argument with his father. Atkinson had also written on his Facebook page that night: "Everyone can go to hell, tired of this life."

Public Defender Gary Horton today did not issue any appeal to Atkinson's high bail count. He remains in jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Atkinson will return to court on Nov. 14.

Jan. 25 fire under investigation as possible arson

By Howard B. Owens

Police detectives are investigating a case of possible arson stemming from a Jan. 25 fire at 12 Elm St. in Batavia.

Confirming a reader tip, Det. Chuck Dudek said this morning that the investigation is ongoing.

The initial Fire Department press release from that fire:

The first alarm came in for 12 Elm Street with report of a possible explosion and flames showing. Within three minutes, city firefighters arrived on scene and quickly extinguished a fire that was found in the side stairwell of the three-story apartment house. Four residents were alerted by smoke detectors and were safely outside the structure when the firefighters arrived.

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