An East Longmeadow man has been convicted for placing a lit firebomb at a local senior health care facility.

EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- An East Longmeadow man has been convicted for placing a lit firebomb at a local senior health care facility.

The U.S. Attorney's office said that 37-year-old John Rathbun was convicted on Tuesday by a federal jury following a week-long jury trial.

Prosecutors said that Rathbun assembled, placed, and lit a homemade incendiary device outside the entrance of the Jewish Geriatric Services Lifecare in Longmeadow on April 2, 2020.  That device was reportedly made of a five-gallon fuel canister filled with gasoline and a Christian religious pamphlet as a wick.  An investigation found Rathbun's DNA on the canister and pamphlet.

“The jury has spoken: Mr. Rathbun is guilty of lighting a firebomb right at the entrance to a Jewish assisted living facility – a cruel and senseless crime...Thanks to the jury’s verdict and the good work of prosecutors and investigators, the man who targeted vulnerable members of our community will not be a threat to public safety anytime soon," said acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Nathaniel Mendell.

Rathbun also falsely told federal agents on April 15, 2020 that he wasn't home on April 2, that he was not familiar with the senior care facility, and didn't possess or ever seen the fuel container.

A federal jury convicted Rathbun in November 2020 on making false statements to a federal agent, but was deadlocked on the arson counts and required a retrial.

“The danger posed by John Rathbun in this case was very real. By trying to ignite a firebomb outside a Jewish assisted living facility, he put the lives of innocent people at risk...Through the diligent efforts of our Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the jury’s hard work, the community is much safer now," said Joseph Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 12.

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