DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York

For Immediate Release

Monday, May 16, 2016
Richard S. Hartunian
, United States Attorney
Contact: Grant C. Jaquith

Duell Pleads Guilty To Perjury

Made False Statements to Grand Jury During an Arson-Homicide Investigation

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jennica Duell, age 28, of Schenectady, New York, pled guilty today to three counts of making false declarations before a federal grand jury, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Delano A. Reid, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives New York Field Division. Sentencing is scheduled for September 12, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in Albany, New York before Senior United States District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe.

As part of her guilty plea, Duell admitted that she made irreconcilably contradictory statements under oath before a grand jury conducting an investigation into the May 2, 2013 arson at 438 Hulett Street in Schenectady, New York, which caused the deaths of David Terry and three young children, seriously injured another child, and destroyed the building and the personal property inside. Duell admitted that, on May 24, 2013, she testified regarding specific events that occurred on May 1-2, 2013, and then, on January 31, 2014, gave irreconcilably contradictory testimony about those events. The events included declarations about Duell and others traveling from Saratoga Springs to 438 Hulett Street, Duell and others getting gasoline, and how the fire at 438 Hulett Street was started, and by whom.

Duell admitted that:

  • On May 24, 2013, Duell’s testimony about the events of May 2, 2013 included the following: Sometime after 3:00 a.m., she and three men traveled from Saratoga Springs to Schenectady so one of the men could confront David Terry so Duell and the man could be together. They stopped at a gas station and filled up a gas can. Then they went to the house at 438 Hulett Street, where the man grabbed the gas can and poured some gas into a water bottle, walked over to the house, and poured gas in the hallway and up the stairs. Duell asked what he was doing, said "don’t do this," and "my babies are in there," and the man said "they are not going to get hurt." After he lit the fire, Duell "saw the flames" and "wanted to get in there . . . but he wouldn’t let me." Before setting the fire, the man said to Duell, "do you want to be free?" Duell said "yes."
  • On June 4, 2013, the man was charged by criminal complaint with the arson destruction of the building at 438 Hulett Street, based upon sworn statements by unnamed witnesses reflecting their personal knowledge that he and three others went from Saratoga Springs to Hulett Street, stopping to get gasoline. When they arrived, the man poured gasoline into a clear bottle, walked to the building at 438 Hulett Street, distributed gasoline around, and lit the fire. 
  • On January 31, 2014, Duell testified that her prior testimony regarding what happened on May 1-2, 2013 was untrue. On February 7, 2014, the criminal complaint charging the man was dismissed without prejudic

Duell faces a maximum sentence of imprisonment of five years and a $250,000 fine on each count, for a total term of imprisonment of fifteen years, and total fine of $750,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said: "Perjury is a serious affront to the integrity of our criminal justice system. It was important to resolve these charges, but we remain completely committed to securing justice for the victims of the arson homicide and their families."

The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Schenectady Police Department, and the Schenectady Fire Department. The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U. S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Assistant United States Attorney Wayne A. Myers.

Further questions or inquiries may be directed to First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaquith at 518-431-0247.

The ATF is offering a reward of up to $40,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the arson that occurred on May 2, 2013 at 438 Hulett Street in Schenectady, resulting in personal injury and death. All information will be treated confidentially and the callers will remain anonymous if requested. Anyone having information should call the ATF Albany Field Office at 518-431-4182, or email ATFTips@atf.gov

###

Field Division: New York Field Division