In a surprise twist, New Square resident Shaul Spitzer was granted “youthful offender” status at a resentencing hearing today, which will trigger his release from jail.
State Supreme Court Justice William Kelly said though he was initially against allowing the change in status, he was convinced by Spitzer’s comments that he had, in fact, matured, and would not commit such a crime again, much to the satisfaction of some 40 Spitzer supporters who attended the hearing.
Spitzer, a former aide to New Square Grand Rabbi David Twersky, had been serving a seven-year prison term at the East Correctional Facility for an assault on Aron Rottenberg, 48, an alleged “dissident” who did not adhere to Rabbi Twersky’s dictates.
A then 18-year-old Spitzer attempted to burn down Rottenberg’s house in the early morning of May 22, 2011 with a firebomb, leaving Rottenberg burned over 50 percent of his body.
The married father and grandfather needed skin grafts and months of intense rehabilitation. He says he still cannot use his right arm or work as a plumber.
An appeals court returned the case to the lower court for resentencing because of the “youthful offender” issue, noting that the lower court judge did not consider whether Spitzer should have been considered for the status.
News of the possibility of Spitzer’s impending release was met with anger by Rottenberg, who told The Journal News last week, “If they succeed in getting Spitzer out early, it will prove to them they have the power. They have what they call the bloc vote. They are very good at working politicians.”
“I am the victim,” he added. “Why should I have to compromise? I did once.
They broke their promises. I can’t trust them.”