Alleged Hinsdale firebug loses bid for bail


PITTSFIELD >> A Hinsdale man accused of setting a series of fires in Pittsfield has lost his bid to have bail set in his case.

Jeffrey Benoit, 26, has pleaded not guilty to charges of arson of a dwelling house, burning property and burning a motor vehicle.

Judge William Rota ordered Benoit be held as dangerous without the right to bail for 120 days following a Dec. 8 hearing in Central Berkshire District Court.

On Wednesday, Judge Daniel Ford upheld the lower court's decision at a bail review hearing in Berkshire Superior Court.

Benoit's attorney, David Pixley argued there were any number of conditions that could be imposed on his client to ensure the safety of the public, including GPS monitoring, reporting daily to the Hinsdale Police, and regular testing for consumption of alcohol.

Benoit is accused of being thrown out of a Dec. 1 party after becoming intoxicated and then later returning and starting a fire inside that apartment building before starting others in the area shortly after.

Pixley raised questions whether Benoit was the person who actually returned to the apartment before the fire started, because no one answered the door when someone, who was assumed to be Benoit, knocked.

Prosecutors said aside from the first fire on Perrine Avenue, the others seem to be completely random, raising concerns that simply requiring Benoit to stay away from that address would not prevent him from potentially starting other fires elsewhere.

According to police, while the fire inside the Perrine Avenue apartment building was being investigated, several others were reported in the area, including fires in a pair of trash bins on Plunkett Street, a parked car and a boat on Kellogg Street, and a pile of leaves on Kellogg Street.

Benoit was located on Fourth Street and placed under arrest abut 3:40 a.m.

Police said two separate buildings, housing at least 19 people, were affected by the fires. No one was injured.

A pretrial hearing in the case has been set for Dec. 29.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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