St. Patrick's Cathedral attempted arson suspect to get mental exam | News Coverage from USA

St. Patrick’s Cathedral attempted arson suspect to get mental exam

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. – The Hasbrouck Heights man charged with attempted arson after walking into St. Patrick’s Cathedral with gasoline and a lighter will undergo a mental exam to see if he is fit to stand trial, officials said.

On Wednesday, Marc Lamparello, 37, was arraigned from his hospital bed in Bellevue Hospital Center, viavideo conference, said Naomi Puzzello, spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. The judge ordered Lamparello be remanded and undergo an examination to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial, said Puzzello.

Lamparello was also charged with reckless endangerment. No bail was set, pending the exam, which will likely take place at the hospital, said Christopher DiLorenzo, Lamparello’s attorney. The next court date is scheduled for May 14, though that may be adjourned if the results of the exam are not ready by that date.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.

Lamparello’s arrest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, along with an arrest just two days prior in a Newark cathedral, signaled a deteriorating mental state, said DiLorenzo. The two arrests, along with conversations with medical professionals treating Lamparello, prompted DiLorenzo to request the exam.

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“It is clear that Mr. Lamparello suffered from a psychotic episode on April 17,” said DiLorenzo. “And the events leading up to and including the event at St. Patrick’s Cathedral support this conclusion.”

On the night of April 17, Lamparello allegedly brought at least one full can of gasoline to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, two days after a fire nearly destroyed historic Notre Dame Cathedral, said John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism of the New York City Police Department. 

“The defendant intentionally attempted to damage a building or motor vehicle by starting a fire and another person who was not a participant in the crime was present in such building and motor vehicle at the time, and the defendant knew that the circumstances were such as to render the presence of such a person therein a reasonable possibility,” the New York complaint said. “The defendant recklessly engaged in conduct which created a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.”

During questioning April 17, Lamparello told police his minivan had run out of gas and that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue, police said. When police checked Lamparello’s car, it was not out of gas, police said.

Lamparello had purchased a $2,800 one-way airplane ticket to Rome, from Newark Liberty International Airport. The flight was scheduled to leave Thursday evening.

Lamparello, a college professor, had also been scheduled to teach at Seton Hall on the night of April 17, but canceled through an email that said he was sick, according to Seton Hall’s student newspaper, The Setonian. 

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Lamparello feared he was ‘being stalked’

In December 2018, Lamparello walked into Hasbrouck Heights police headquarters to tell police he was afraid he was being stalked, and that plain-clothes police officers were watching him, according to police records.

“He [Lamparello] reports that in the past he believes that he is being stalked by someone while at work and school in New York,” said Sgt. Domenick D’Amico, in the incident report.

Lamparello complained of seeing plainclothes cops in his building while teaching as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College of New York, and police cars outside of his building, the report said.

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His fears climaxed on Nov. 29, 2018, when Lamparello saw a Hasbrouck Heights police car in front of his Berkshire Road home, the report said.

“He stated that since the police are there to protect us, he wanted to find out who he is being protected from,” said D’Amico, in the report.

Despite his complaints, Lamparello had no specific electronic or physical evidence to support his claims, the report said. When police checked their computers, there was no record of call service at Lamparello’s address for that date. 

Follow Rodrigo Torrejon on Twitter: @rod_torrejon



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