Quechee man’s charges from Hartford apartment fire include arson, burglary


Editor’s take note: This tale by John Lippman was originally released in the Valley News on June 2.

Danielle Garceau, appropriate, and good friend Ashlee Wilson, remaining, stand outside the house Windsor Remarkable Courtroom in White River Junction soon after attending the Wednesday arraignment of Ethan Lavoie of Quechee on prices linked to the alleged arson fireplace that destroyed Garceau’s condominium on May possibly 23. Photograph by James M. Patterson/Valley News

HARTFORD — 9 days right after a hearth broken a block of efficiency residences and displaced a lot more than a dozen people, a Quechee male faces felony fees alleging he torched one particular of the residences due to the fact of a dispute in excess of a drug deal.

Ethan Lavoie of Quechee Hartland Street pleaded not responsible to prices of arson, theft, petit larceny, negligent operation of a automobile and leaving the scene of a crash in connection with the May perhaps 23 fire for the duration of his arraignment on Wednesday in Windsor Legal Court docket in White River Junction.

He is currently being held at Southern Point out Correctional Facility in Springfield pending $10,000 money bail.

Citing Lavoie’s felony convictions in other states and the defendant’s “somewhat limited ties to Vermont, the seriousness of the fees and the toughness of the state’s circumstance,” Excellent Court docket Choose John Treadwell dominated that “there is a danger of flight that ought to be mitigated by the imposition of income bail.”

Law enforcement say Lavoie established an apartment ablaze at the former Pleasurable Watch Motel due to the fact he thought that the occupant robbed his fiancee of $100 through a drug sale.

Lavoie’s arrest on Monday followed an investigation by the Hartford Police Department into the late afternoon, two-alarm blaze during which a cat perished. The Purple Cross secured unexpected emergency housing for 16 men and women who lived in the 9-unit condominium developing.

The hearth originated in and gutted the device occupied by Danielle Garceau, who had just arrived at a friend’s household in Weathersfield when a neighbor named to explain to her about the fire.

She rushed again household to discover firefighters, law enforcement and other citizens exterior.

“Everything I owned was gone,” Garceau claimed in an interview on Wednesday, together with her 3-yr-aged cat, Mario, who was identified to have died from smoke inhalation.

The investigation was aided by a critique of online video surveillance footage, which captured a car traced back again to Lavoie, 30, arriving at, then leaving, then returning to the scene shortly right before and following the hearth began.

The online video exhibits a guy getting into and then exiting the unit in which the fire started off and putting what appeared to be an appliance from the condominium in the back of his pickup truck, according to an affidavit prepared by Hartford law enforcement officer Cpl. Eric Clifford filed in assist of the rates.

In the video, when the male in the pickup truck leaves, “within minutes smoke is witnessed billowing out” of Garceau’s device, the affidavit says. A several minutes afterwards, the video clip shows the very same pickup truck — this time adopted by another car — re-enter the parking of the apartment.

This time the man will get out, walks more than to the place the space is on fireplace as if making an attempt to retrieve one thing in advance of obtaining into the truck yet again and driving off.

The car or truck that followed the pickup truck into the apartment parking whole lot was a Honda Civic that had been sideswiped by the truck on Route 4, in accordance to the affidavit.

Ethan Lavoie of Quechee is arraigned in Windsor Excellent Courtroom in White River Junction on Wednesday, June 1, on prices stemming from the alleged arson hearth at Enjoyable Perspective Motel in Hartford on Might 23. Lawyer Jeff Sokolik is at ideal. Photograph by James M. Patterson/Valley News

Garceau instructed investigators that she experienced left her apartment the day of the hearth mainly because she experienced gotten into an argument with her previous boyfriend around his drug use and wished to stay away from him.

When investigators reached out to Lavoie and questioned him about the hearth, he was evasive in his responses, law enforcement claimed, but when pressed about the video clip surveillance footage, he acknowledged that he had long gone to the condominium setting up in search of Garceau’s ex-boyfriend.

Lavoie’s fiancee had obtained heroin from him, he stated, but Lavoie alleged he finished up “robbing her for $100,” in accordance to the affidavit.

Lavoie told investigators when he did not come across the man at Garceau’s condominium, he grabbed a toaster oven and lit the bed with a “torch lighter,” contemplating he was placing the previous boyfriend’s belongings on hearth, the affidavit.

Lavoie told investigators he “thought that the sheets and mattress would just burn up and then go out,” the affidavit stated.

The reason he returned to the scene is that “he wanted to enable the cat out,” the affidavit claimed.

Arguing for conditional release on reduced bail, defense legal professional Jeff Sokolik stated that Lavoie experienced proven himself cooperative with law enforcement and experienced hardly ever failed to make a courtroom visual appeal.

Though acknowledging Lavoie’s problems with material abuse, Sololik explained to the court “his past history does not suggest just about anything of violence.”

Windsor County State’s Lawyer Ward Goodenough, in urgent for a $10,000 hard cash bail, observed that simply because Lavoie — who is initially from Idaho — has “very brief and limited” ties to the condition in addition to prior felony convictions and originally gave investigators “alternative versions” of what occurred at the motel, he posed further chance of flight” which justifies a bigger bail.

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