Hudson Falls arson suspect pleads not guilty

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The man who admitted to killing his girlfriend by setting their Hudson Falls house on fire pleading not guilty in Washington County Court on Friday.

Derrick Guilder, 22, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree arson in a fire that killed his 18-year-old girlfriend Ashley Coltrain.

“I’m angry and I just want justice to be served for Ashley,” a family member said.

A month old memorial for Coltrain stands outside the home that police say was set ablaze with Coltrain trapped in the second story bedroom.

Guilder said he meant to take his own life too but when the room filled with smoke he panicked and made his way out a window and onto the roof.

This body camera footage shows Guilder crouched on the roof, saving his own life with no regard to his girlfriend, neighbors, or first responders.

“You see the hectic nature and you hear them talk about how slippery the roof is as they’re trying to save Ms. Coltrain.”

Coltrain died of smoke inhalation. District Attorney Tony Jordan says it was supposed to be a murder-suicide over the ending of their relationship.

“Ultimately, that’s what the trial will be about.”

Guilder’s defense lawyer says he’s on suicide watch and should be placed in a mental health facility. A judge sided with DA Jordan who says jail is the only place for him.

Guilder is due back in court in December.

The DA says he’s confident Guilder will be convicted and faces 25 years to life in prison.

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