Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Tuesday, August 23, Ryan Veloce, age 32, of Montgomery, was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison, the maximum sentence he faced, after having been convicted following a jury trial in the Orange County Court of crimes including Murder in the Second Degree and Arson in the First Degree. During the court appearance, the sentencing Judge said to Veloce that one of the greatest ironies of the case was that the victim had saved Veloce’s life the night before, by administering Narcan to reverse the effects of a drug overdose. The Judge further noted that had it not been for the heroic actions of the victim alerting other occupants in house to the fire, more people would have died.
The convictions were in connection with a fire which destroyed a single-family house located on Barron Road in Town of Montgomery on the morning of June 10, 2021. A 46-year-old man, who resided in that home, was rescued by firefighters after becoming trapped in the house. The man died later that morning at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital as the result of smoke inhalation. During the trial, prosecutors argued that Veloce, who had been an overnight guest in the home, had intentionally set the fire using kerosene because he believed that the deceased man, who was asleep at the time, had stolen Veloce’s cocaine the night before the fire.
On June 10, 2021, at approximately 7:00 a.m. the Town of Montgomery Police Department and firefighters responded to the burning home on Barron Road. Veloce, who initially denied having been in the house, was seen walking from the vicinity of the fire. The Town of Montgomery Police were aided in the investigation by the New York State Police, Orange County Fire Investigators, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Office of Fire Control and Prevention and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. A trained arson detection canine team from the Orange County Sherriff’s Office aided arson investigators in determining the point of origin of the fire. Subsequent laboratory testing conducted at the New York State Police Laboratory in Albany confirmed that a liquid accelerant, likely kerosene, was used to start the fire, and that the fire had been started in the bedroom the defendant had occupied.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Town of Montgomery Police Department for their investigation and the arrest of Veloce, as well as New York State Police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Arson Investigators, and the New York State Office of Fire Control and Prevention for their assistance in the case. District Attorney Hoovler also thanked the firefighters who responded to the scene, particularly those who entered the burning residence to rescue the victim.
“The heinous and cowardly actions of this defendant, which cost a man his life, were rightfully met with the maximum sentence allowed by law,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “The defendant set the deadly fire in this case under cover of night, without eyewitnesses present. But for the dedicated and skilled investigation by the law enforcement agencies, coupled with the hard and steadfast work of the prosecutors who handled the case, this defendant would not have been held responsible for his crimes. However, this case stands as a paradigm of the value of teamwork amongst talented law enforcement professionals to make sure that justice was done. And I am glad to say that here, justice was done.”
Town of Montgomery Police Chief John Hank said, “I am happy to see this case come to a conclusion that will give a small bit of closure to the Horan family. I would like to commend the hard work of the investigators from the Town of Montgomery Police, the New York State Police, the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the Orange County DA's Office and the Orange County Sheriff's Office. The cooperation between all of these agencies led to a successful prosecution of this very difficult case.”
District Attorney Hoovler highly commended Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Borek and Assistant District Attorney Michael Roche who handled the prosecution of Veloce.