New York man denies killing 3 family members, torching home

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 15, 2011 12:33 PM
New York man denies killing 3 family members, torching home

By Zach Howard

CONWAY, Mass (Reuters) - A New York man pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting three family members and burning down their home before abducting his girlfriend and their baby and fleeing to New England, a judge said on Friday.

Matthew Slocum, 23, an ex-convict with swastika tattoos on his forearms, was arraigned Thursday night in White Creek Town Court in Cambridge, New York, on three counts of murder and two counts of arson, Judge Philip Sica said.

He is accused of setting fire early Wednesday to a house in Eagle Bridge, New York, located about 35 miles northeast of Albany, where he lived with his mother, stepfather and stepbrother.

At the charred home, authorities found the bodies of Lisa Harrington, 44, her husband Dan, 41, and Dan's son Josh, all of whom police believe had been shot before the fire was set, according to court documents.

A motive for the crimes has not been revealed.

After setting the fire, Slocum, who was armed, abducted his 4-month-old son Raymond and girlfriend, Loretta Colegrove, 25, at around 4:00 a.m. Wednesday, prompting New York and New England states to activate the so-called Amber Alert system, police said.

Late on Wednesday, Slocum released Colegrove and the boy and surrendered to police almost 90 miles away in Gilsum, New Hampshire, where he had been hiding in a house. The baby and mother were unharmed after the daylong ordeal.

Slocum, who waived extradition back to New York, was being held without bail at the Washington County correctional facility, said Sica.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)