Classmates Hold Vigil Outside House of Fire Victims

A Webster teenager is being held in a juvenile detention center accused of killing members of his family.  Police say Michael Pilato, 15, poured gasoline throughout their house and set it on fire while his family slept.   His mother, Elaine and sister, Elizabeth, 13, managed to get out.   Carmen Pilato and his sons Peter, 16 and Joshua, 12,  were killed. 

"It sickens me that I've been in the same house as a murderer," said Jeremy Carr, a friend of Josh.  Carr says he spent a lot of time at the house and is trying to make sense of what happened.  "You'd never expect it.  It's never on your mind.  You never think your best friend, this would happen to them," said Carr.  Firefighters, many who knew the family, tried,  but could not save them.  "Once you're busy and you're working and you're doing what needs to be done you're not thinking about all this," said Al  Sienkiewicz , West Webster Fire Department.  "It's after the fact.  You go back to the firehouse  and you realize what has happened in past couple hours. That can have an impact on people."
 Neighbors say they watched in horror as the house burned knowing the family was inside.  "It's the worst thing I've ever experienced in my life," said Diane Depape, neighbor.   She says her heart broke when she found out Michael was arrested.   She has known him since he was a baby.  According to court documents, police believe the 15-year-old intended to kill his family.  Investigators say he admitted to the crime.   Michael Pilato faces six charges of second degree murder and arson.   "I know they've had problems with him in the past.  I just can't believe he went to extremes and did this," said Depape. 

On Wednesday night several teenagers and their parents held a small vigil at the house.   Friends say Josh was a funny kid that liked to skateboard.  Peter loved his siblings and Carmen was a good dad.   The family was ready for the holidays, but now the Christmas decorations sit beside chared furniture and clothing.  Inside, what was a happy home, is empty.  "I'm gonna miss him," said Carr.   Police say there were called to the house before.  School officials say they worked with the family on "issues."   

Pilato's case will be referred to a Monroe County grand jury.   If he is tried in adult court as juvenile offender. If he is convicted of murder as a juvenile offender, Pilato could receive a maximum prison term of 15 years to life.  If he was tried as an adult and convicted Pilato would face a maximum prison term of 25 years to life.

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