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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Oleg NARIMANBEKOV, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: February 25, 1999

SULLIVAN, J.P., NARDELLI, WALLACH and TOM, JJ. Sandra Cavazos, for Respondent. Angela Badamo, for Defendant-Appellant.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Bruce Allen, J.), rendered April 23, 1997, convicting defendant, after a nonjury trial, of reckless endangerment in the first degree and arson in the fourth degree, and sentencing him to concurrent terms of 5 years probation, unanimously affirmed.

The verdict was not against the weight of the evidence (see, People v. Bleakley, 69 N.Y.2d 490, 515 N.Y.S.2d 761, 508 N.E.2d 672).   There was ample evidence that defendant acted with depraved indifference to human life and recklessly engaged in conduct that created a grave risk of death to others (Penal Law § 120.25).   Defendant caused significant damage when he started a fire by pouring three gallons of kerosene over the carpeting and a trail of papers and clothing in an office suite of a 12-story commercial and residential building, and then striking a match, while fully aware that the building in general, and a neighboring office in particular, were occupied.   The court reasonably discredited defendant's testimony about the steps he claimed to have taken to prevent the spread of the fire.   In any event, the court correctly found that defendant's conduct was so inherently dangerous that it constituted reckless endangerment regardless of the claimed measures undertaken, because defendant exposed others to the risk that they would be ineffective in protecting them from harm.   We have considered and rejected defendant's remaining claims.


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