The man who caused a deadly fire in Homer over a year ago, and destroyed a centerpiece of the village, is off to State prison.
Brian Bermudez was sentenced in Cortland County Court Thursday for the September 2016 fire.
Bermudez has been arrested over a dozen times, sentenced to probation in 6 of those cases and was actually serving his most recent probation when he caused the fire that destroyed part of historic Homer and killed 81-year-old Dewayne Block.
Bermudez spoke in court, “I’m here today to take responsibility for my actions and seek forgiveness.”
Bermudez admits a methamphetamine habit and was manufacturing the drug, with his teenage son and others in the apartment, the night it ended up causing that massive fire.
Cortland County Chief Assistant District Attorney Liz McGrath said in court, “A man is dead because of the defendant’s actions, a building destroyed and the people who survived the fire are forever changed.”
Bermudez was sentenced to a determinant sentence of 8-years on the drug charge to run concurrently with the manslaughter sentence of 5-15 years in State prison.
“I certainly understand that no sentence will fix what’s been done.” McGrath said.
Still Homer Police Chief Bob Ptiman and Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti are pushing State lawmakers to change State law to allow for stiffer penalties in cases like this.
Perfetti says, “There should have been the ability to impose a more severe sanction, but the law is what it is. We will work within the confines of the law but as well we will work to support those efforts to change the law.”
He says the call is not just to deliver harsher penalties but to try and avoid situations like this in the first place.