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Man convicted of starting Duluth synagogue fire sentenced to jail, community service

UPDATE: The man accused of setting the fire that burned a Duluth synagogue to the ground learned his fate Friday.

Judge Shaun Floerke had a strong message for Matthew Amiot about life after today’s sentencing.

“It’ll be the most intense monitoring experience you’ve ever had in your life,” said Floerke.

The judge offered Amiot a chance to speak during the hearing but he chose not to.

A victim impact statement was read on behalf of Rabbi Phillip Sher and the synagogue’s congregation.

Vicky Wanta/ the prosecuting attorney read the statement aloud saying, “The burning of the building, therefore, has been a loss not just to the Jewish community of Duluth but also due to the loss of artifacts a loss to Juediusum.”

Congregation members who were in the courtroom say it’s been a tough road.

Member Sam Pomush said, “It’s not the same, stuff was burned. And I’m just sad, with what happened. It’s been very hard because this person took away everything from us. ”

But with strength, they know they’ll get through it.

Pomush adds, “We are, we’re strong. There’s a few of us but we’re strong.”

After Amiot’s 90-day sentence is up, he will be back in court for the judge to decide if he will enter mental health or drug court during his probation period.



UPDATE: The man accused of setting the fire that burned a Duluth synagogue to the ground learned his fate Friday.

A judge sentenced Matthew Amiot, 36, to 90 days in jail and 192 hours of community service.

Amiot received credit for the 36 days he has already served in jail.

In 90 days, a review hearing will be held to see if Amiot will need to go to drug or mental health court.

Last month, Amiot pleaded guilty to two counts: felony negligent fire and negligent fire with injury.

The early September fire destroyed the Adas Israel Synagogue and injured a Duluth firefighter.

Amiot lit the fire outside the synagogue, according to court documents,

He told police he tried to spit on it to put it out, but surveillance video shows him walking away from the flames.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.





10:30 a.m. —  The man accused of setting the fire that burned a Duluth synagogue to the ground will learn his sentence Friday.

The sentencing for Matthew Amiot, 36, began at 9:15 a.m. Friday.

Last month, the homeless man pleaded guilty to two counts: felony negligent fire and negligent fire with injury.

The early September fire destroyed the Adas Israel Synagogue and injured a Duluth firefighter.

According to court documents, Amiot lit the fire outside the synagogue.

He tried to spit on it to put it out, but surveillance video shows him walking away from the flames.

Although cameras are not usually allowed inside Minnesota courtrooms, CBS 3 has been given permission to record the sentencing hearing.

We’ll bring you updates as we receive information.

Krystal Frasier

Social Media and Digital Content Manager

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