• Published

A man accused of setting a fire that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to a Target store last summer in Amherst pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday.

The judge ordered him held without bail.

William Lattin, 64, who appeared before Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio, faces one count of second-degree arson. If convicted, he would face a maximum prison sentence of 25 years.

Lattin, who has no permanent address, is charged with using a lighter to set fire to clothes in the Niagara Falls Boulevard store on the afternoon of Aug. 15.

The store was evacuated and the fire extinguished in a half-hour with the help of the building’s sprinkler system. Smoke and water caused more than $700,000 in damage.

Lattin was arrested the next day after he returned to the store. Security staff recognized him and called police. Police said he admitted setting the fire in the men’s department.

At the arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Paul J. Glascott told the judge that Lattin has a criminal record dating back to the 1960s that includes one felony coviction and nine misdemeanor convictions.

Robert J. Cutting, Lattin’s attorney, said he will seek a mental competency hearing for his client.

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