Black Teens charged with murder, accused of intentionally setting man on fire

Two teenagers, ages 16 and 14, have been charged with second-degree murder after police say they intentionally lit a man on fire, causing his death.

Rochester Police were called to Lyell Avenue near Murray Street Friday. They say 53-year-old Steven Amenhauser had been doused in flammable liquid while sitting in a chair inside his apartment and was lit on fire. Bystanders tried to put out the fire, and first responders transported him to the University of Rochester Medical Center.

They say he suffered second- and third-degree burns over 70% of his body. He died from his injuries early Tuesday morning.

Zayvion Perry, 16, and 14-year-old Adriel Riley, Jr. have been charged with second-degree murder in Amenhauser’s death.

“There’s nobody else to speak for him”

Police say Amenhauser was originally from Texas, and that he was predeceased by his wife. His longtime girlfriend passed away in October, and he lived on the 500 block of Lyell Avenue alone, in declining health

Capt. Frank Umbino of the Rochester Police Department said Amenhauser had been originally adopted and had no surviving family at the time of his death.

“The reason I’m telling you a little bit about him, because there’s nobody else to speak for him,” Umbrino said during a news conference Tuesday.

Umbrino said Amenhauser and the suspects knew one another.

“The kids, they hung around in the neighborhood, and if anybody knows that neighborhood, everybody kind of knows everybody,” he said. “So, they certainly knew Steven, but there was no type of familial relationship.”

Around 12:30 p.m. Friday, Umbrino said Amenhauser walked to a corner store and then went back to his residence.

About five minutes after his return, he came running out of his apartment, on fire.

Perry and Riley were reportedly found near the scene. Umbrino said they provided fake names and were eventually taken to the Public Safety Building. Later, they were reportedly determined to be suspects.

Umbrino said it’s not clear whether they followed Amenhauser home, if they were already in his apartment when he returned, or what led to them being inside the residence.

Previous offenses

Perry was initially charged with first-degree assault and attempted arson, and Riley with second-degree arson and assault. Murder charges were filed after Amenhauser’s death Tuesday.

13WHAM News learned Tuesday that Riley had been released on another violent felony charge at the time of the Lyell Avenue incident.

Much of Riley’s previous arrest history has been sealed by Family Court because of his age. After being charged with armed robbery, he was released again – because of his age – and had failed to show up to court ever since.

The robbery occurred the night of Sept. 27 at a plaza on Chili Avenue in Gates. Police say three teenagers – one with a knife – robbed a man walking to his car after buying a pizza.

The victim was deaf and did not hear them coming….[    ]

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