FARMINGTON — Three men accused of a string of Franklin County convenience store burglaries in June are now accused of intentionally setting fire to a vacant home in Wilton and a camp in Carthage.
Franklin County court Judge Susan Oram set bail Monday at $25,000 cash for Devon J. Pease, 22, of Jay. The state Fire Marshal’s Office charged him with two counts of felony arson and one count of felony criminal conspiracy (arson). Pease was arrested on a warrant Friday.
D’Kota Rowe, 20, of Wilton, and Duane Bailey, 27, who is in Franklin County jail in Farmington, face the same charges. Rowe was picked up on a warrant in Somerset County over the weekend. Bailey was at the jail when he was charged.
State fire officials investigated the fire at 9 Sewall St. in Wilton, a double-wide single-family home, that was reported at 2:29 a.m. June 27. They also investigated a fire at a vacant log-style camp at 471 Winter Hill Road in Carthage. The fire was reported at 3:23 a.m. June 27. Both structures were destroyed by fire.
According to state fire investigator Kenneth G. MacMaster’s affidavit, both fires were determined to be arson.
MacMaster learned that Bailey, Pease and Rowe were involved in burglaries and thefts at My Dad’s Place in Jay, Skoolhouse Variety in Weld and Our Village Market in New Vineyard.
MacMaster interviewed Rowe on July 27 in a private office at the Presque Isle Fairgrounds, where Rowe initially denied any knowledge of the fires. Rowe said there was discussion among Bailey, Pease and himself about burning a home on Main Street in Wilton, with Bailey the one principal one targeting the home. Rowe said he felt “pressured” to participate, MacMaster wrote.
According to the affidavit, Rowe said Pease offered a gas can at his residence and the three of them drove there, got it and stopped at a store in Wilton to get more gas. Rowe said Bailey was too drunk to figure out how to pump the gas, so Rowe did it.
Because they couldn’t get close to the Main Street residence, Rowe said they decided to burn a single-family home on Sewall Street, with Bailey pouring gas on the front of the house and lawn. A lit piece of paper ignited the gasoline, according to the affidavit.
After Pease was dropped off in Wilton, Rowe, Bailey and another person with them went to Carthage where Bailey and the other person walked up to the camp with the gasoline container and set the camp on fire. The three returned to Rowe’s Wilton home, MacMaster wrote.
On July 28 at the Wilton Police Station, MacMaster said he interviewed Pease, who denied any knowledge of the fires. When confronted with the information MacMaster had on the fires, Pease admitted he had been with Rowe, Bailey and a third person in Rowe’s vehicle.
Pease said he was aware that Rowe and Bailey had a “beef” with a Wilton resident, according to the affidavit. Pease said he heard the two talking about setting the resident’s home on fire and gasoline would be needed. Pease said he offered a can with “old gas” in it and they went to his Jay residence to get it.
According to the affidavit, Pease told fire investigators he thinks burning the Sewall Street house was some “sort of a gang initiation.”
On July 29, MacMaster interviewed Bailey at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Farmington, where Bailey admitted he was with Rowe, Pease and a third person before the two fires. He also admitted he carried the gasoline can to the Main Street house in Wilton but it wasn’t burned because they heard dogs barking, the affidavit said.
Bailey also admitted he carried the gas can to the Sewall Street house, poured gas on it and ignited it, and did the same at the Carthage camp, MacMaster wrote.