A Southampton judge has ordered that a psychological exam be administered to the Sagaponack man accused of purposely setting an oceanfront Bridgehampton home on fire over the weekend to determine if he is fit to stand trial.
At his arraignment on Monday morning, Southampton Town Justice Andrea Schiavoni ordered the exam after learning that the suspect, 64-year-old David Osiecki, has a past history of mental illness, and has been hospitalized in a psychiatric facility in the past, according to his attorney, Brian DeSesa of Sag Harbor. According to Mr. DeSesa, it is unclear whether Mr. Osiecki understands what is happening or what he was doing, and the attorney declined to comment on the case until the psychiatric study is completed.
According to police, Mr. Osiecki is responsible for two fires last weekend, the more serious one being a house fire at 187 Dune Road in Bridgehampton. The fire was called in to police at 5:49 a.m. on Saturday, and members of the Bridgehampton, Amagansett, East Hampton, Sag Harbor, North Sea, Southampton and Hampton Bays fire departments either responded or stood by for other departments. Bridgehampton Fire Chief Gary Horsburgh was in charge on the scene, but has not returned calls seeking comment.
Mr. Osiecki admitted to police that he intentionally started the house fire, and that it took him three hours to light.
According to 2013 Southampton Town records, the two-story, five-bedroom, five-bathroom home is owned by Helene Feldman. In 2011, it was listed with the Corcoran Group with an asking price of $34 million.
Mr. Osiecki was arrested Saturday afternoon. At his arraignment on Monday, bail was set at $500,000, although Mr. DeSesa said on Wednesday that it has not been posted because Mr. Osiecki cannot be released until after the examination, a process that could take up to two weeks. The results are expected to be released at Mr. Osiecki’s next court appearance, scheduled for May 15 at 9 a.m. at Southampton Town Justice Court in Hampton Bays. Until then, he is being held at the Suffolk County Jail facility in Riverside.
“I have no comment at this time,” Mr. DeSesa said. “I want to await the results of the exam to make a determination as to how we will proceed in this case.”
Mr. Osiecki also admitted to starting a brush fire on Friday, April 18, at 219 Hayground Road in Bridgehampton. Court documents say that Mr. Osiecki started the fire which was called in at approximately 10:29 a.m., and that it took him approximately six hours to start. The fire was intended to burn the local cell towers and train tracks, according to the court documents.
Mr. Osiecki was arrested by Southampton Town Police at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, approximately eight hours after the house fire started. He was charged with one count of third-degree arson, a class C felony, for the house fire, as well as fifth-degree arson, a class A misdemeanor, for the brush fire.
It is unclear what led police to Mr. Osiecki, or what he had used to start the fires. The Southampton Town fire marshal’s office referred all questions regarding the incident to the Southampton Town Police Detectives division. Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa declined to say what evidence they had linking Mr. Osiecki to the blaze.