Lawyer who torched house disbarred

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A former O'Hara councilman and attorney, convicted two years ago of setting a house on fire with his bedridden daughter inside, has been disbarred, the state Supreme Court Disciplinary Board announced.

The license of Samuel Pontier, 57, was suspended in February 2007. Of his own accord, Mr. Pontier resigned from the state bar following his conviction of various crimes in connection with the Dec. 29, 2006, fire at his family's home.

His daughter, Kristin, 17, who has cerebral palsy and was unable to flee the blaze, suffered smoke inhalation and burns to her esophagus.

Mr. Pontier told investigators he started the fire because he was frustrated his estranged wife kept an untidy house.

His defense attorney said at the time Mr. Pontier was suffering from manic depression and abusing prescription drugs and alcohol when he set the fire.

Mr. Pontier had been charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief, two counts of arson and three counts of reckless endangerment.

Prosecutors withdrew the charge of attempted homicide when the suspect cooperated with the police investigation.

He pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault and arson, and the other counts were withdrawn.

In February, Mr. Pontier was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison. He also faces a lengthy probation upon his release.

After the conviction, Mr. Pontier announced his resignation from practicing law.

The disciplinary board yesterday ordered him disbarred.


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