Woman gets up to 13 1⁄2 years for her role in Rotterdam bombings

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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— A woman who admitted helping carry out a bombing campaign in Rotterdam was sentenced Tuesday to as much as 13 1⁄2 years in prison.

An emotional Amy Brzoza apologized in court for her actions, saying she has since tried to better herself and that she was using drugs at the time. She has been in custody since her 2012 arrest.

Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago called Brzoza’s actions “egregious conduct.”

“That kind of behavior just isn’t going to be tolerated, drugs or no drugs,” she said. “It’s just not going to be tolerated.”

Brzoza, 32, formerly of Kellar Avenue in Rotterdam, pleaded guilty last year to a single count of third-degree arson.

She was one of four people charged in connection with a series of bombings in March and April 2012 that authorities said were led by Lawrence Ahrens and targeted at the new love interest of Ahrens’ old girlfriend. No one was hurt.

Ahrens was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison for his role. Two others have yet to be sentenced: Michael Garry and Michael Chambers, Brzoza’s former boyfriend. Both admitted arson or attempted arson charges and face 15 years in prison.

Brzoza was accused of being the driver in the later bombings, which Chambers committed for Ahrens. The two were arrested after the final bombing, after Brzoza crashed her car into unmarked police cars as she fled the scene.

In court Tuesday, Brzoza was sentenced to a total of 4 1⁄2 to 13 1⁄2 years in prison, the amount specified in her plea deal.

Prosecutor John Healy noted that, to some degree, Brzoza’s actions were the product of her drug addiction. Also, he said, Ahrens preyed on her.

“That is an explanation, but not an excuse,” he said.

Brzoza’s attorney, Randall Kehoe, noted his client has been cooperative from the beginning and has accepted full responsibility.

In the 19 months she has spent in jail, she has earned her GED, he said.

She also continues to receive support from family.

Brzoza tearfully gave her own statement.

“I’d just like to apologize to the victims,” she said. “I tried to learn from this and better myself. This won’t be a revolving door for me.”

Brzoza’s sentiments were in stark contrast to last week’s sentencing of Ahrens, who showed up in court wearing a defiant T-shirt suggesting violence against those who provide testimony against criminals.

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