For Immediate Release - February 25, 2014

Fire Officials Outraged at Plea Deal Offer to Serial Arsonists

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said, “I am outraged at the plea deal offered today to this father and step-son team of serial arsonists. Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz asked for 8-12 years in state prison for the older man and 4-6 years for the younger. I concur with the district attorney that a fair sentence for these three fires includes significant jail time, not the 1-3 years they have been offered by the judge.”

Coan added, “Arson is not a victimless crime and a series of arsons creates an understandable fear that robs people of feeling secure in their own homes where they should feel safest. Arson fires take a toll on our firefighters and are the type of fires that cause the most firefighter injuries. Arson fires tear at the very fabric of a community burdening public safety resources, affecting tax revenues, jobs and creating blight.”

Mark Sargent and his step-son JeanMarie Louis were arrested January 30, 2013 and charged with setting fires in West Bridgewater, Scituate and Marshfield. Today in Plymouth Superior Court the judge offered Sargent a plea deal of 2-3 years in state prison followed by 3 years probation and Louis 2 ½ years in a house of correction, with one year to serve and credit for the one year he has already served while held on bail. The balance of Louis’ sentence would be suspended for two years. They were arrested as part of the investigation into a series of arson fires in Barnstable, Bristol, Norfolk and Plymouth that started in the fall of 2012 and stopped after they were arrested.

State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal joined with agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and many local fire and police agencies in this four county investigation. While the fires the men may plead guilty to on Friday occurred in Plymouth County, the investigation also includes fires in Norfolk, Bristol and Barnstable Counties that required collaboration between all four district attorney’s offices. The other fires remain under investigation and additional charges may be forthcoming.