DALTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A suspect was arraigned, on Tuesday, following the burning of personal property at the Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton on Oct. 9.
The suspect, 49-year-old Lonnie Durfee of Dalton, was arrested on Oct. 12 for setting fire to painted hay bales in support of an election campaign located at the farm.
The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office requested the court hold Mr. Durfee as a danger to the community. This followed after his arraignment on Tuesday.
Judge Paul Smyth also scheduled a dangerousness hearing for Friday, Oct. 16.
The Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington released a statement on the suspect, saying:
“This is a sad reflection of the vast polarization in our country and the Berkshires. We believe Mr. Durfee destroyed personal property because he disagreed with the property owner’s political views. Our community will not accept those types of actions under any circumstances. We will hold Mr. Durfee accountable, and I hope the community uses this incident as a rallying cry to reject fervent divisiveness and hate.”
Officials confirmed that the Commonwealth accuses Durfee of using gasoline along with motor oil to set fire to the hay bales that displayed the Biden/Harris campaign logo.
The accusation was announced after Mass. State Police and the Fire Marshal’s Officer determined someone had intentionally lit the fire, which ultimately led to the Dalton Police Department arresting Durfee on Saturday.
Judge Smyth ordered that Durfee be held without bail under the dangerousness statute due to the suspect demonstrating a risk to the public, officials say.
Harrington also released a statement to Western Mass News on the judge's latest order, saying:
“I thank Judge Smyth for his thoughtful consideration of the facts we presented in making his determination. Mr. Durfee’s record shows that he has engaged in a pattern of domestic violence, including strangulation, a strong indicator of potential lethality. Mr. Durfee’s recent arson allegations are particularly concerning in light of his violent history because he is escalating his hostility against the public at large. Our number one job is to protect the public. This ruling keeps a dangerous person from potentially causing additional harm to members of our community.”