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Suspect in New Square Arson Attack Now Facing Murder Charge

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Uploaded on May 23, 2011

New Square — Ramapo police have upgraded the charges against the suspect believed to have attacked a Truman Avenue man early Sunday morning after trying to burn down his home.

Shaul Spitzer, 18, of nearby Adams Lane, now faces charges of first-degree arson and second-degree attempted murder, both felonies. He had previously been charged with felony counts of first-degree attempted arson and first-degree assault.

Police said Spitzer was responsible in the arson attack that left Aron Rottenberg, 43, with third-degree burns to 50 percent of his body.

Rottenberg was taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and remains there in serious condition. He is expected to survive his injuries, police said today.

Rottenberg's family say they have been the target of violence and protests in the Hasidic enclave because Rottenberg worships at the Friedwald Center, rather than the community's main synagogue.

But at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. today Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence said he had spoken with New Square Deputy Mayor Israel Spitzer and had been assured that Sunday's attack was the result of a private dispute between the two men and not a campaign of retribution.

Rottenberg's family has strongly disputed that conclusion.

Police said they are continuing to investigate and released only a few additional details, some of them grisly.

When police arrived at Rottenberg's home on Sunday at 4:12 a.m. they found him sitting on the front steps of his home so badly burned smoke was rising from his body.

Rottenberg's son also suffered burns on his fingers after trying to put out the flames.

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