An Ontario County man, serving 25 years to life for starting a fire that killed his children, is asking Governor David Paterson for executive clemency.
Mark Mastin has spent the last 14 years in prison. He was convicted of starting a fire at his home on Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Hopewell in December of 1995. Mastin's three young children died in the blaze.
Mastin is asking the Ontario County Board of Supervisors for help. He sent a letter this week to all board members. Victor Town Supervisor Jack Marren said he wasn't sure how to react when he saw the letter.
"First of all, correctional facility is on the address and I'm like who do I know there or who do I don't want to know,” Marren said. “But I opened it up, read it, and started rehashing what took place back in 95. Unfortunately it was almost like it was yesterday because it really impacted myself and I'm sure many people in the community."
In the letter, Mastin says how much he loves his children and thinks about them everyday. He also declared his innocence and that he was coerced into signing false statements.
Marren calls Mastin a desperate man who is just trying to get out of prison.
"Very desperate, and last I knew he had a very reputable attorney that was at his side. I'm sure the process took place and the process was correct."
Mastin is asking the Board of Supervisors to support his attempts in gaining freedom and to appeal to the governor on his behalf for mercy.
“Unfortunately Supervisor Marren will not be helping him,” Marren said. “I haven't spoken to any of my fellow supervisors but I'm not sure he's going to get a lot of support."
Ontario County District Attorney Mike Tantillo and Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero had no comment on Mastin's clemency plea.