Man accused of murder, arson, is on suicide watch

October 13, 2017 07:03 PM

FORT EDWARD - Derrick Guilder squinted throughout his arraignment Friday but it was the judge who couldn't see setting bail for him. Guilder is accused of starting the September 6 fire in Hudson Falls that killed his girlfriend, Ashley Coltrain.

Police officers rush in to save people from the burning North Street home. The man they pluck from the roof is Guilder, the man accused of starting the fire. Police say Guilder was angry that Coltrain, was breaking up with him so he set fire to some papers on a couch and went upstairs into the bedroom they shared, planning for both of them to die.

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But prosecutors say Guilder changed his mind, climbed out a window and onto the roof where first responders saved him.
Coltrain's family was in court Friday, still grieving. "Ashley was niece, more like my daughter," said a woman who identified herself as Andrea. "I'm angry and I just want justice to be served for Ashley."

District Attorney Tony Jordan asked that no bail be set because the case against Guilder is strong, saying the 22-year-old confessed. And Jordan says Guilder threatened suicide after each of his last two relationships ended.

"We want to make sure that he is protected and he is safe from self-harm," Jordan said.

Guilder's attorney, Theresa Suozzi, offered a not-guilty plea on his behalf and wants her client to get psychological help right away. "Our position is that he needs immediate, urgent help. He's still on suicide watch now at the jail.And he's confided in me that he still has those thoughts."

Judge Kelly McKeighan sent Guilder back to jail without bail.

Guilder is due back in court December 15. Murder and arson each carry a maximum sentence of 25-years-to-life.


Mark Mulholland

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