Probation for Adams man who tried to torch girlfriend's home

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PITTSFIELD — An Adams man accused of trying to torch his girlfriend's house in October 2014 will avoid jail time under a plea agreement reached this week.

Alan E. Taylor, 36, admitted to cutting up clothing and destroying a laptop belonging to his girlfriend following an argument, during which she destroyed part of his guitar collection.

Taylor then doused part of the exterior of her house with gasoline before igniting it. The fire extinguished itself before causing serious damage, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Jeffrey Clarke.

"Thankfully, the house didn't become fully engulfed," said Clarke. "It could have been far worse."

He said investigators couldn't determine exactly when the fire was started and couldn't be sure whether anyone was home at the time.

Clarke asked Judge John Agostini to consider a 2 to 3 year state prison sentence, noting the seriousness of the charges and the concern for the safety of first responders and the general public created by someone who resorts to arson when angered.

Taylor's attorney, Richard LeBlanc, recommended probation for Taylor, telling the court his client has been in counseling and still maintains a relationship with the victim.

That victim briefly addressed the court on Taylor's behalf and spoke of how he's become the "Mr. Mom," of the household and how they've both been working through what she described as a "rough patch," in their relationship.

She also asked Agostini to adopt the defense's sentencing recommendation.

Taylor pleaded guilty to one count each of burning a dwelling house and malicious destruction of personal property over $250.

Agostini sentenced him to three years of probation, with the conditions he continue counseling and abide by any plans put forth by the Department of Children and Families.

The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police and Fire Departments and state troopers assigned to the Office of the Fire Marshal.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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