- Berkshire District Attorney's Office
Media Contact for Berkshire District Attorney’s Office Secures Maximum Jail Sentence In Hay Bale Burning Case
Andrew McKeever, Director of Communications
BERKSHIRE COUNTY — The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office secured the maximum jail sentence for the Dalton man who set fire to hay bales displaying support for the Biden/Harris presidential campaign.
Judge Mark Pasquariello sentenced 50-year-old Lonnie Durfee to one year at the Berkshire County House of Correction on Thursday on a single count of burning personal property.
In an unagreed plea previously presented to Judge Paul Smyth, the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office requested the court to 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.
On Thursday, Durfee appeared before Pasquariello 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,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said.
“This sentence sends a message that our community will not accept those types of actions and that civility and respect will prevail.”
Dalton Police, Massachusetts State Police, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal investigated the arson on October 9, 2020. Investigators arrested Durfee the following day.
Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington’s office serves all 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County. The office represents the Commonwealth in more than 7,500 criminal cases per year in Berkshire Superior Court, three district courts, three juvenile courts, Massachusetts Appeals Court, and Supreme Judicial Court. The office works closely with the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force, and collaborates with local police departments across the county. A dedicated staff of more than 50 prioritizes public safety, empowering victims and witnesses through services and support, and building a safe community for everyone and especially the most vulnerable.