1 man was taken into police custody outside the Planned Parenthood on Wednesday.

ITHACA, N.Y. – A man who lit a fire and fell through the ceiling at the Ithaca Planned Parenthood in April pleaded guilty to charges Friday morning in court.


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Adam Smith, 32, pleaded guilty to felony third-degree criminal mischief, will pay $1,560 in restitution and will be sentenced to no more than 1 1/3 to four years in prison.

Adam Smith

Smith entered the Planned Parenthood at 9:13 a.m. on April 1 and locked himself in the bathroom, police said. Employees said Smith was “suspicious” and began knocking on the door to get his attention, but he did not respond.

Smith then lit tissue paper on fire to make the fire alarm to go off, hoping he would get lost in the shuffle when the building was evacuated, his attorney Thomas Kheel said.

When the alarm failed to go off, Smith climbed into a drop-ceiling, kicked in a square by the lobby to try to escape, and fell through the drop-ceiling.

“I was just delusional,” Smith told Judge Joseph Cassidy at the Tompkins County Courthouse shortly after 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Kheel, the defense attorney, said his client has a long history drug addiction and tried seeking help in the past, including completing drug treatment court.

Smith admitted in court to being on drugs at the time of the incident.

He was also charged with fifth-degree arson, but those charges were dropped because Smith did not damage property or intend to light anything at Planned Parenthood on fire, Kheel said.

Other charges

Smith was also pled guilty Wednesday to felonies for third-degree grand larceny and second-degree possession of a forged instrument. He’ll serve a maximum of 2 1/3 to seven years, concurrently with his other charges.

He cashed 11 stolen checks worth $4,605 from Dec. 4 to 8, Smith said during court.

His co-defendant in the case and girlfriend, Christa M. Earl, recently turned herself in and is awaiting arraignment, Kheel said.

Smith is also charged with felony driving while ability impaired in Chemung County. As part of a plea deal, he will plead guilty to those charges and serve his jail time concurrently.

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Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.