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An ex-convict captured in New Hampshire has been charged in New York with setting a fire that killed three members of his family in the rural upstate home they shared with him, authorities said Thursday.
Matthew Slocum, 23, surrendered in Gilsum, N.H., late Wednesday after a daylong search in three states. Police had been looking for him, his girlfriend and their baby since early Wednesday, when a fire in White Creek, N.Y., killed his mother, stepfather and stepbrother.
White Creek Town Justice Philip Sica told The Associated Press that a felony charge of first-degree arson was lodged against Slocum early Thursday morning. Calls to the Washington County sheriff and District Attorney Kevin Kortright weren't immediately returned.
Slocum did not speak during a brief court hearing in Keene on a fugitive from justice charge. He agreed to return to New York on Thursday or Friday.
Sica said Slocum's arraignment in White Creek Town Court hadn't been scheduled yet.
Washington County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Tucker said Slocum was well-known to police around his hometown, located amid the rolling, scenic farmland along the Vermont border.
Slocum was paroled Dec. 29, 2009, after serving most of a four-year sentence for breaking into a home in neighboring Cambridge and stealing cash, authorities said. He also had been charged with assault for an altercation at a local convenience store, police said.
Slocum is the son of Lisa Harrington, identified by friends and colleagues as one of the fire victims, along with her husband, Dan, and his son Josh in White Creek, 35 miles northeast of the capital of Albany. Amber Alerts had been issued in New York and New England for his girlfriend, 25-year-old Loretta Colegrove, and their infant son, Raymond.
Slocum was taken into custody in a home in Gilsum, and the alerts were canceled, Massachusetts state police spokesman David Procopio said.
Investigators said they tracked down Slocum in Gilsum and, after several hours of negotiations with police, he freed the woman and the infant he had been holding. A short time later, Slocum surrendered.
Local television footage showed police escorting Slocum to a cruiser waiting in a poorly lit street. The woman was seen holding the infant as she walked, surrounded by armed police officers, soon after they were released from the home.
The alerts had been issued after Slocum left the burning home in a black 2003 Ford Mustang. He was reported near Adams, Mass., at about 5 a.m., and authorities said the empty vehicle was found late Wednesday afternoon in Gilsum.
This program aired on July 14, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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