14 Years for North Jersey Man Who Torched House as Kids Slept
A Somerville man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for setting fire to a Hillsborough home in which nine people were sleeping — four of them children.
In April, 36-year-old Patrick Hammond was convicted of second-degree aggravated arson, nine counts of third-degree endangering another person, four counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and criminal mischief, a disorderly persons offense.
Hammond also was convicted of two counts of third-degree animal cruelty, as two cats died in the house fire more than two years ago.
He had ignited a flammable liquid in the early morning hours of December 30, 2018, after an argument with his on-again/off-again girlfriend, who lived there with her two young children, prosecutors said.
Hammond then took photos of the fire using his cell phone and sent some to friends, but did not call 911 as he ran into nearby woods, according to court testimony.
He tossed the phone, a lighter and a burnt glove as he tried to meet up with a pre-arranged ride, but was caught by police.
One of the people inside the home saw the flames early and everyone except the cats managed to escape.
Hammond has been in custody at Somerset County Jail since his arrest, prosecutors said.