SOUTHAMPTON, NY – A woman previously accused of serial arson in Southampton, New York, was released without bail, only to face new charges of armed robbery less than two hours later, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. Amanda Burnside, who was implicated in setting fires to three residences, was granted release on her own recognizance, despite the prosecution’s recommendation for a $500,000 bail or $1 million bond.
Burnside was instructed by the judge to report for supervised release within 72 hours. However, authorities claim that within two hours of her release, Burnside had procured a knife and attempted to rob a Dollar Tree store.
The incident has sparked criticism from District Attorney Ray Tierney, the lead prosecutor in the high-profile Gilgo Beach serial killer case. Tierney expressed his dissatisfaction with the state’s bail laws, arguing that they failed to adequately assess the risk posed by Burnside.
Tierney pointed out that the defendant’s alleged propensity for violence, as evidenced by her arson charges and subsequent armed robbery, was not sufficiently considered under the current bail laws. He further emphasized that the laws do not allow judges to factor in the potential danger a defendant might pose to society when setting bail.
This case has brought New York’s controversial bail reform laws into the spotlight, a contentious issue for Democrats both locally and statewide. Suffolk County recently elected its first Republican county executive in two decades, Ed Romaine, who campaigned heavily against lenient crime policies. In the wake of the election, Republicans now hold all countywide seats in Suffolk and Nassau counties, as well as all four congressional seats in the region.