Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – A Liverpool man facing numerous felony charges in connection to a fire at a Norstar Apartments garage pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Tuesday. Initially charged with arson, conspiracy, and insurance fraud
, Chris Deverso pleaded guilty to attempted arson in the third degree.
The judge promised him a sentence of five years’ probation, including six months in jail shock probation.
He also agreed to pay up to, but not above $10,000.
In July 2012, Deverso and an alleged accomplice - Robert Swartz – were accused of igniting a blaze that caused an estimated half-a-million dollars in damage to the 40-bay garage
Police say Swartz told them that Deverso offered him $10,000 to set the fire.
Detectives said the fire started in a double unit being leased by Deverso, where he was storing two 1967 Chevrolet Camaros, which were insured for $70,000.
According to affidavits filed in court, Swartz told investigators he had just poured gas in one unit and lit the fire intentionally. Deputies say Swartz suffered burns to 40 percent of his body in the fire and was sent to the hospital. He appeared in court with bandages covering his limbs.
At the time of his arrest, Deverso told NewsChannel 9 that he was set up because of jealousy and envy. He said, “Apparently, some people think I haven’t been through enough and think I should have to suffer more.”
Deverso told NewsChannel 9 the arrest is the second worst thing that has happened in his life; the first being the death of his daughter Victoria, who was killed in a drunk driving crash in 2010.
Prior to that, he was in a fight with the DEC for keeping an invasive pet species – a snakehead fish that he was told he could not legally own in Central New York.