Tioga Downs arsonist sentenced to 7 to 15 years in state prison


OWEGO – The man who burned down a barn at Tioga Downs and killed 30 race horses and injured one person last year was sentenced to 7 to 15 years in state prison in Tioga County Court on Friday.

Boyd H. Fenton, 33, pleaded guilty to 32 counts on Jan. 29, including arson and assault. On Friday, he was sentenced to 5 to 15 years for the arson in the third degree charge, and 7 years in prison and 3 years of post-release supervision for the charge of assault in the second degree.

Fenton, who is from Athens, was also sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years for violation of New York State Agricultural & Markets Law Section 321, which is an injury to certain domestic animals. All of the sentences will run concurrently.

Firefighters and law enforcement responded to a barn structure fire just after 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 at the Nichols casino complex.

Fenton was originally charged with arson in the third degree, a Class C felony, as well as burglary in the third degree, criminal mischief in the second degree and assault in the second degree, all Class D felonies.

The investigation revealed that Fenton entered the barn and intentionally set a fire, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage and killing more than two dozen horses.

One person who entered the burning barn in an attempt to save horses suffered second degree burns and was transported to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment.

One of the horse owners who was affected by the arson spoke during the sentencing hearing.

Fenton was given an opportunity to deliver a statement prior to being sentenced, but he declined.