Schenectady arson attempt plea to draw up to 15 years
SCHENECTADY A polite Michael Chambers appeared in court Wednesday, admitting his role in a springtime bombing campaign directed against a Rotterdam man.
He now faces up to 15 years in state prison.
Chambers, 33, of Draper Avenue, appeared in Schenectady County Court, answering “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am” to questions posed by Judge Karen Drago as he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree attempted arson.
When the plea was accepted, Chambers finally responded “Thank you, ma’am.”
In response to routine questioning, he also admitted an addiction to crack cocaine.
Chambers is now the second figure to take a plea in the incidents. Cases against two others, including accused mastermind Larry Ahrens, remain pending.
In all, Chambers now faces 10 to 15 years in state prison. The final figure will be up to Drago. His sentencing was tentatively set for January.
Chambers was one of three people accused of carrying out the plot allegedly hatched by Ahrens. The target, authorities have said, was the new love interest of Ahrens’ old girlfriend.
Ahrens wanted to instill fear in the man by sending people to detonate explosive devices on his vehicle and home, investigators said.
Ahrens, 33, of Rotterdam, was named with Chambers and 31-year-old Amy Brzoza in a 49-count indictment handed up in June. The top count against all three was first-degree arson, a charge that carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years to life upon conviction. These cases are pending.
Authorities have said Ahrens paid Chambers, Brzoza and Michael Garry to wage a nearly two-month campaign of violence against the new boyfriend’s East Claremont Avenue home.
No one was injured but thousands of dollars worth of damage was inflicted.
Charges were filed against Ahrens, Chambers and Brzoza in April, after Brzoza and Chambers were caught by police on a 24-hour stakeout of the targeted residence.
They were seen throwing an explosive device at the house, authorities said.
Garry was accused of damaging the home with a screwdriver and then placing an explosive device on the man’s vehicle.
He was arrested in an unrelated case in March, at which point Ahrens allegedly turned to Chambers and Brzoza to continue the campaign.
Garry pleaded guilty last month to a charge related to his role in the case, one count of third-degree arson.
He faces up to 15 years in state prison at his sentencing.
Chambers was represented by attorney Sven Paul and prosecuted by John Healy.