RochesterFirst

Two Rochester teens now charged with murder in Lyell Avenue arson case

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Officials from the Monroe County District Attorney’s office announced elevated charges for two teens arrested in a fatal arson case on Lyell Avenue.

Police say 53-year-old Steven Amenhauser was “intentionally” set on fire last Friday in his Lyell Avenue apartment. He was being treated at University of Rochester Medical Center’s Kessler Burn & Trauma Center — with second and third degree burns over 70% of his body — before ultimately succumbing to his injuries early Tuesday morning.

As a result, 16-year-old Zayvion Perry and a 14-year-old Adriel Riley Jr., both from Rochester, were arrested and charged with arson and assault in connection to the incident. They are now charged with second degree murder.

RPD Capt. Frank Umbrino said Amenhouser left his apartment to go to a nearby store before the incident occurred.

“He came back from the store and entered his apartment and about five minutes after he entered his apartment he came out of it on fire,” Umbrino said. “There were people who tried to help, render aid, and put out the fire. RPD and RFD responded and he was taken to the Burn Trauma Unit until he passed away at about four o’clock this morning.”

Umbrino said Amenhauser was a Texas native who had no living relatives. He was living alone in the apartment the crime was committed.

“Steven was doused with a flammable liquid while sitting in the chair of his apartment, then he was intentionally set on fire,” Umbrino said.

Umbrino said the victim was in declining health. He added that he was not related to the two teens who were arrested, but he was familiar with them.

The RPD captain said he couldn’t get into the details of the evidence that led to the arrest, but he said he was confident the two teens who were charged were the ones who committed the crime.

When asked about possible motives, Umbrino said there was nothing to point to about drugs being involved, and he said he couldn’t comment on any potential gang involvement.

“I don’t think anyone is prepared to say why this happened,” Umbrino said.

Officials from the district attorney’s office say that due to the Raise the Age legislation, Perry will be prosecuted as an adolescent offender and remain in youth part of Superior court. Riley Jr. will be prosecuted as a juvenile offender and his case will remain in youth court.

“Youth Part is a criminal court where adolescent offenders and juvenile offenders remain subject to criminal liability as adults,” officials from the district attorney’s office said. “Neither defendant will be transferred to family court at this time.”

Officials say Perry is being held on $50,000 cash bail, $100,000 secured bond and $150,000 partially secured bond. Riley Jr. is being held no bail, no release.

Both are being held at the Monroe County Children’s Center, a secured facility, officials say.

Full RPD press conference

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.