MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announces the sentencing of Douglas J. Scherr, 34, of the Budd Lake section of the Township of Mount Olive, on December 11, 2015, before the Honorable Catherine Enright, J.S.C.
Judge Enright sentenced Scherr to serve five years in New Jersey State Prison on one count of Aggravated Arson. Scherr will be required to serve 85% of the sentence before he is eligible for parole, pursuant to the No Early Release Act (“NERA”).
On August 18, 2015, Scherr entered a guilty plea to the crime of Aggravated Arson (a crime of the second degree) before Judge Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr.
On May 2, 2014, at approximately 3:13 a.m., emergency personnel were dispatched to Scherr’s Budd Lake Apartment, 8A of 33 Eagle Rock Village, Budd Lake, in the Township of Mount Olive on a call of a smoke condition with an audible fire alarm.
Upon arrival, first responders encountered heavy smoke and extinguished a fire located in the kitchen area of the apartment. The source of the fire was determined to be a glass candle that was underneath a chair with clothing draped over it.
Throughout the apartment, officials located multiple propane tanks that were venting a flammable substance into the apartment. Officials were able to evacuate the adjacent apartments and no one was injured. Scherr was not present at the apartment at the time emergency personnel responded but he was arrested in New York State later the same day.
During his guilty plea, Scherr admitted he placed open propane canisters in the living room and kitchen of his apartment, and started a fire in the kitchen with an intent to ignite the propane, thus placing others in the apartment complex in danger of death or bodily injury.
The State was represented at sentencing by Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Schellhorn.
Prosecutor Knapp would like to thank the Arson-Environmental Crimes, Major Crimes and High-Tech Crimes Units of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mount Olive Township Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office-Criminal Investigation Section, as well as the New York State Police and Chenango County (NY) Sheriff’s Department, whose collective efforts contributed to Scherr’s arrest and conviction.