Arson, burglary among grand jury indictments

NORWICH – A Chenango County grand jury met last week and handed up several felony indictments, including the crimes of arson and burglary.

At the proceedings, the District Attorney’s Office presents evidence against those they wish to prosecute and the jury decides if there is enough reasonable cause to charge a person.

On May 12, the grand jury indicted eight individuals for crimes against the people.

• Jeffrey A. Maxson, 44, of New Berlin, was indicted for second degree arson, a class B felony. At 11:40 p.m. on April 26, firefighters responded to a one story home at 5156 state Route 8. New York State Police Investigator Jason Besset said alcohol may have been a factor in the domestic incident. He said Maxson’s parents, the homeowners, were not at home when the fire started, but other relatives were present at the time. Besset said Maxson, who is unemployed, had been living at the home for the last three weeks. Fire officials estimated that the home burned for about 10 to 15 minutes before emergency crews arrived.

Chenango County Fire Coordinator Matthew Beckwith said crews responding to the scene were hampered in their efforts to fight the fire by Maxson, describing him as “intoxicated and belligerent.”

Beckwith said crews ordered Maxson to leave the scene and he was escorted off the property by family members. “At the time we asked him to leave, we had not began our investigation into the cause. They we’re just trying to put out the fire and make sure no one was hurt. Later as we developed what took place, we realized this was not an ordinary fire and fire investigators contacted police,” said Beckwith.

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