|Dalton Man Charged in Arson Held After Dangerousness Hearing|
|Staff Reports, iBerkshires|
07:20PM / Friday, October 16, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Dalton man accused of setting fire to nearly 20 hay bales making up a political sign has been ordered held without bail after a dangerousness hearing.
Lonnie Durfee, 49, of Dalton was arraigned Tuesday on a charge of burning personal property related to the fire Friday, Oct. 9. The Berkshire District attorney's office had requested the dangerousness hearing.
On Friday, Judge Paul Smyth ordered that Durfee be held without bail under the dangerousness statute after the DA's office argued that the latest allegations against Durfee demonstrate a risk to the public.
"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," said District Attorney Andrea Harrington. "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 No. 1 job is to protect the public. This ruling keeps a dangerous person from potentially causing additional harm to members of our community."
The Berkshire Eagle reported earlier this week that Dicken Crane, owner of Holiday Brook Farm where the sign had been created, had reached out to speak with Durfee after he turned himself. Reportedly, Durfee apologized and told Crane he was still grieving the death of his son, Jacob Durfee, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in August at the age of 23.
Crane's sign had been in support of the Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; he has since created a new sign that says "Love, Unity, Respect" and "vote."