The news about the serial arsonist Amanda Burnside, who was freed without bail after lighting fires at three Long Island homes, has gone viral.
Who is Amanda Burnside?
Amanda Burnside, a Southampton woman who was accused of lighting fires at three houses, was released on her own recognizance despite prosecutors’ request that the judge set bail at $500,000 or $1 million bond.
Amanda Burnside court charges
Amanda Burnside, 41, was charged with one count of second-degree arson and two counts of attempted second-degree arson, all felonies, after it was alleged that she tried to set fire to three houses on Long Island on Sunday night.
She was freed without bond on Monday morning, even though the prosecution had asked that she be detained in custody on a $500,000 cash bond, a $1 million bond, or a $1.5 million partially secured bond.
Less than two hours after being freed, Burnside, a Southampton resident, allegedly obtained a knife and tried to rob a Dollar Tree store.
Ray Tierney, the district attorney for Suffolk County, stated, “Clearly, the dangerousness of this defendant—who is accused of trying to set three homes on fire—was not adequately considered.”
The Southampton Town Police Department received three reports of ‘someone trying to set their houses on fire’ on Sunday evening, the Southampton Press reported.
Tierney told the outlet: ‘In the first one, she goes up to the house, pours accelerant, but can’t get her lighter to work.
‘In the second one, she does the same thing; the homeowner comes out to confront her and she asks them to use their lighter to start the fire. On the third one, she does the same thing again and this time gets her lighter to work, so she starts the fire.’
Amanda Burnside offence
According to authorities, on Sunday night, Burnside made an attempt to set fire to three residential homes located on Oldfield Lane, West Tiana Road, and Fairview Avenue.
Burnside allegedly set fire to a bench and the porch of the Oldfield Lane residence before police arrived on the scene.
Fortunately, no one was hurt and the homeowner was able to put out the fire, according to the police.
She was taken into custody right away and held there all night until being arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court early on November 13.
Burnside was freed on her own recognizance by Southampton Town Justice Gary J. Weber, who also mandated that she report for supervised release in a span of 72 hours.
Monday morning, at around eleven a.m., according to the police, Burnside “pointed a knife at the cashier and demanded money from the register.’
She was once again arrested and brought to Southampton Town Justice Court. Her case will be processed by the same judge.
She was once again arrested and brought to Southampton Town Justice Court. Her case will be processed by the same judge. She was charged with first-degree attempted robbery, a felony, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanour, following her second arrest.
The district attorney’s office recommended setting her bail at $500,000 cash, $1 million bond, or $1.5 million partially secured bond this time.
‘At the first arraignment, custody status was supervised release through the Suffolk County Department of Probation, as provided by law,’ said Justice Court Director Selena Berbig in a statement to the Southampton Press.
After Burnside was arrested a second time, Tierney attacked the state’s bail regulations. It is well known that the district attorney is the primary prosecutor in the Gilgo Beach serial killer case.
Given that the defendant allegedly committed another violent, serious felony two hours after her arraignment, it is evident that the danger posed by the fact that she attempted to set three homes on fire was not given enough thought.
‘Furthermore, the danger that this defendant posed to society could never be adequately considered insofar as dangerousness is not a bail factor that judges can consider under New York State law.
“My office will continue to seek that defendants that pose a threat to public safety remain in custody, despite the obvious flaws to our law.’
‘It’s a crazy story,’ Tierney told the Southampton Press, ‘and I honestly don’t know what the judge was thinking.’