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Liedtke sentenced for arsons

November 16, 2010
ALTON — Stark Liedtke, 44, a former lieutenant with the Alton Fire Department, was sentenced to at least three years in prison for his involvement with arson throughout Alton and New Durham. He will also be required to pay back more than a half-million dollars in restitution to the victims.

Liedtke pleaded guilty to eight counts of arson and one count of attempted arson in Belknap County Superior Court. The nine fires were started at different times and locations throughout the area.

He was arrested on March 22 after police saw him acting suspiciously. After questioning, Liedtke told police that he was planning to set a fire in an abandoned house on New Durham Road. He then confessed to numerous fires that he had started since 2006.

Liedtke was not found to be involved in Alton's most damaging blazes: the Alton Bay Pavilion fire in 2006, the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center in 2009 or the forest fires on Mount Major.

Liedtke was sentenced to three to seven years in State Prison and was also sentenced to one to four years in prison, with the minimum suspended, to be served consecutive to the three- to seven-year sentence.

A total of 14 to 28 years in prison were suspended on 15 years good behavior and restitution payments to the victims. The court recommended victim impact and mental health counseling, and he was credited with 41 days of pretrial confinement.

Per the conditions of the suspended sentence, Liedtke is barred from having contact with the victims or the victims' immediate families; Alton Bay Christian Conference Center, Ronald Martin, Sally McGarry, Addison Cate, Lisa Sanders and George Gubitose.

The court banned Liedtke from working or volunteering as a firefighter or an emergency medical technician and he is required to complete psychiatric counseling as a condition of parole.

Liedtke was ordered to make restitution of $17,200 plus 17 percent administrative fee payable to George Gubitose, $6,715.03 plus 17 percent administrative fee payable to Town of Alton, $4,000 plus 17 percent administrative fee payable to Sally McGarry, $279,259.90 plus administrative fee to the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center and in the amount of $68,757.08 and $210,502.82 to the Cincinnati Insurance Company.

The state reserved the right to submit additional restitution figures within 90 days that will reflect the labor, equipment and supply expense of the Alton Fire Department with relation to its response to the fires.

Liedtke is also required to complete any counseling as directed by the correctional authorities.

Liedtke was additionally sentenced to one to 10 years for arsons that he admitted to committing in Strafford County.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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