Guilty plea in Huntington Station arson attempt
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One of two brothers charged with burning their Huntington Station bagel store for insurance money pleaded guilty Monday to attempted arson.
Natan Khaimov, 23, of Flushing, is expected to be sentenced Jan. 31 to a 3-to-6-month jail term. As part of his plea, he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and may testify against his older brother, Robert, Assistant District Attorney Peter Timmons said in court.
Huntington Manor Fire Department chaplain Richard Holst, 60, collapsed at the scene as firefighters doused the blaze at the Uber Cafe on Depot Road.
Holst later died at Huntington Hospital of natural causes. The Khaimovs were not charged with causing his death.
Holst's wife, Noreen, attended Natan Khaimov's guilty plea in Suffolk County Court with about a dozen Huntington Manor firefighters. Outside court, she told a reporter she was too emotionally distraught to comment.
Robert Khaimov, 29, also of Flushing, is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
At his hearing yesterday before County Court Judge James Hudson, Natan Khaimov said he drove his brother to the bagel store between 2 and 3 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2009. Natan Khaimov said he remained in the car while his brother went in the store and started the fire.
The fire caused "substantial damage" to the store, Timmons said outside court.
Natan Khaimov said he and his brother later tried to collect on an insurance policy worth up to $50,000. They never collected any money, Timmons said.
Bruce Roistacher of Melville, Natan Khaimov's attorney, said his client will cooperate with prosecutors and is "prepared to honor any agreement that he signed."
Robert Khaimov has pleaded not guilty to second-degree arson, third-degree arson and second-degree insurance fraud. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
Both brothers are free on $250,000 bond.