Share this article

print logo

Mental health treatment recommended for man who torched own home after standoff

LOCKPORT – A Lewiston man who set his house afire after a 12-hour standoff with police was placed on six months of interim probation, which Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said should include court-supervised mental health treatment.

Murphy told Leonard Zientara that the District Attorney’s Office “made a wise and compassionate decision to allow you to plead guilty to an offense that allowed me to sentence you to probation. … I think you’re basically a decent person who had one bad day.”

Zientara, 52, of West Lane, set the house on fire May 18, 2014, after climbing onto the roof. He pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree arson, and faces up to seven years in prison if he isn’t successful on interim probation. He also owes New York Central Insurance Co. $223,963 in restitution.

Defense attorney Brian J. Hutchison denied reports that Zientara threatened to shoot police or pointed a gun at them. He said Zientara threw a sword out the window at one point to show he was not armed.