Bail set at $10,000 for Dalton man accused of torching shed last fall


PITTSFIELD — A judge set bail at $10,000 on Tuesday for a Dalton man who had been held since September for allegedly torching a shed.

After a dangerousness hearing last fall, Shaun Letourneau was ordered held without bail for four months — a term that has since expired.

His attorney, Thomas Donohue asked Judge John Agostini to consider releasing his client on personal recognizance, noting he had a job he could return to and a place outside of Dalton where he could reside.

But Agostini instead went with prosecutors' recommended bail amount, based on the charges Letourneau faces of burning a building and burning land and his criminal record.

Letourneau was responsible for burning playground equipment at Greenridge Park in 2004 and prosecutors noted his background included a 2009 conviction on charges of mayhem, aggravated assault and battery, vandalizing property, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (second offense) and failure to stop for police.

He was sentenced to two years in jail, followed by five years' probation after pleading guilty to those charges, according to court records.

He violated that probation twice; once in September 2012 and again in July 2013.

The latter violation led to Letourneau being sentenced to an additional two years in jail, court records show.

Letourneau, 34, at the time of his recent arrest, is accused of setting fire to a Gertrude Road shed containing lawn mowers and chairs sometime before 2 a.m. Sept. 12.

A search dog brought in by police followed a trail leading from the scene of the fire to the rear door of Letourneau's home on Greenridge Drive, police said. He was located at the house and placed under arrest.

Police received permission to search Letourneau's room and seized the clothing he'd been wearing that evening.

According to court files, Letourneau asked police to take a backpack from his closet because it contained empty beer cans and he didn't want his parents to know he'd started drinking again,

Police said Letourneau never asked why he was under arrest nor did he deny setting the fire.

He allegedly told police the particular house was chosen because he knew the daughter of the woman who lived there.

When asked why he did it, Letourneau replied, "Because I ... relapsed, that's why," police said.

His case is tentatively set for a September trial.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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