Dalton Man Receives Maximum Sentence in Hay Bale Fire
A Dalton man has been sentenced to one year in jail for burning down a stack of hay bales at Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton last year that were decorated in support of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris during the lead up to last year's presidential election.
The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office has secured the maximum jail sentence for 50-year-old Lonnie Durfee. Judge Mark Pasquariello sentenced Durfee to one year at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction on Thursday on a single count of burning personal property.
According to a media release, in an unagreed plea previously presented to Judge Paul Smyth, the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office had requested the court sentence Durfee to the maximum penalty of one year. Defense Council requested time served. Smyth ordered Durfee to serve one year and the defendant withdrew his plea.
Durfee appeared before Pasquariello on Thursday and opted to accept the plea. The use of fire has a deeply rooted association with political and civil rights intimidation. This fire victimized not only the property owners but represented a threat to entire communities... This sentence sends a message that our community will not accept those types of actions and that civility and respect will prevail. ~ District Attorney Andrea Harrington
Dalton Police, Massachusetts State Police, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal investigated the arson on October 9th, 2020. Investigators arrested Durfee the following day.
Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington's office said one-year at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction is the maximum jail time allowable under law.