Accused Arsonist Applies for Probation Program
Curtis Westover could have aggravated arson charge dismissed if he is admitted and successfully completes pre-trial intervention program.
A 69-year-old Zion Road man, indicted on a charge of setting fire to an Amwell Road barn in March, has applied for entry into the state’s pre-trial intervention program.
Curtis Westover, free on $50,000 bail, applied for entry into the program on July 11.
If admitted into the program and if he successfully completes it, all charges will be dismissed against Westover.
Westover was indicted on a charge of second-degree aggravated arson by a Somerset County grand jury on June 7.
Westover is scheduled to appear Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. for a status conference before Superior Court Judge Julie Marino. Westover is represented by public defender Chanal Hudson. Assistant Prosecutor Frank Kolodzieski is handling the case for the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.
Westover was arrested March 24 and charged with second-degree aggravated arson in connection with a fire that broke out at the unoccupied structure at 697 Amwell Road on Sunday, March 18 at about 7:30 a.m., according to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.
John Lazorchak, chief of the Neshanic Fire Co., owned the building and the adjacent JML Landscaping. Lazorchak had been trying to demolish the structure and build a 6,700-square-foot office building but was involved in a legal fight with the zoning board of adjustment over the plan.
Lazorchak was away on vacation at the time of the blaze.
Detectives from the Hillsborough Police Department in conjunction with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Squad and the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Arson Task Force "deemed the fire to be intentionally set," the prosecutor's office said.
The Pretrial Intervention Program provides defendants, generally first-time offenders, with opportunities for alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process. If the program is successfully completed, there is no record of conviction and the defendant avoids a criminal record.
Supervision under the program may average from one to three years. If a defendant successfully completes all the conditions of the program, then the original charges are dismissed and there is no record of conviction. If a defendant does not successfully complete the conditions of the program, then the defendant is terminated from the program and the case is returned to the trial list.