Looking into murder suspect’s criminal past, fatal fire getting second look

Adam Smith
Adam Smith(St. Lawrence County Jail)
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:05 PM EST
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - As police look into the past of murder suspect Adam Smith, a recent fatal fire in the town of Rossie will get a second look.

The February 19 blaze on Butler Road killed 79-year-old Jay Marsaw.

State police don’t believe the fire is suspicious, but St. Lawrence County District Attorney Gary Pasqua says the case will be reviewed again after the arrest of 46-year-old Adam Smith.

Smith is charged with the murder of 67-year-old William Freeman, who was found stabbed to death at his town of Rossie home last Thursday. Pasqua said Smith is the primary suspect in another murder in the county.

Ronald “Huck” Durham, age 72, was stabbed in the neck in the town of Gouverneur on February 11. The DA says he expects Smith will be charged with that crime soon.

At a news conference Tuesday, police said they’ll be looking into Smith’s past and reviewing open cases to see if there are any connections. The murder scenes and the fatal fire are all in the same area of Rossie and Gouverneur. Pasqua says that’s one reason to look again at the fire.

The DA says while police will go back and make sure their initial assessment is correct, there’s no evidence to indicate that Smith has any connection to the Butler Road fire. However, he says there’s no harm in verifying that.

Smith, a Lake Placid man who has a residence in the town of Gouverneur, has a criminal record in St. Lawrence County.

Pasqua says state police charged Smith with third-degree burglary in the town of Fine in January 2022.

He ended up pleading guilty to third-degree attempted burglary and was sentenced to probation.

Pasqua wouldn’t comment on whether Smith has other convictions outside of St. Lawrence County. However, the DA says Smith has no felony convictions.

Smith is currently charged with second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. He’s being held in the county jail.