Louisa Street arsonist given five year sentence

The front entrance to the Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A Cornwall man who tried to burn down a triplex on Louisa Street two years ago has been given a five year prison sentence.

But John Sawatis, 39, was given credit for time served in pretrial custody, giving him an overall sentence of two years less a day. That allows him to finish his sentence at a specialized treatment facility.

Judge Laurie Lacelle gave her decision Friday in a Cornwall courtroom.

Sawatis had pleaded guilty to five of 19 charges he faced. He pled to two counts of making threats and single counts of arson, motor vehicle theft and assault (the original charge was sexual assault but the charge was amended).

The arson charge garnered the harshest penalty – one year after credit for 736 days of pretrial custody, credited at one-and-a-half times for a total credit of 1,104 days.

The balance of the charges were another year.

Sawatis also has to pay $3,000 restitution to two victims, submit a DNA sample and is banned from owning weapons for life.

He set fire to the triplex at 227 Louisa Street on April 28, 2017 while there were five people inside, according to court records. Everyone managed to escape but many were left traumatized.

The next day Sawatis stole a car and also assaulted a 23-year-old woman.

He will serve his sentence at the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Center in Brockville.

After his sentence is finished, Sawatis will be on probation for three years.

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