FARMINGTON —Judge Susan Oram set bail Wednesday at $25,000 cash for D’Kota Rowe, one of three men charged with burning homes in Carthage and Wilton in June.
Rowe, 20, is charged with four felony counts of arson involving an unoccupied home on Sewall Street in Wilton being burned June 27, followed nearly an hour later by a summer home being burned on Winter Hill Road in Carthage. He is also charged on a felony count of conspiracy to commit arson at a Main Street apartment building in Wilton because of a “grudge” against a man who lived there, a state fire investigator said.
Defense attorney Christopher Berryment challenged the state’s probable cause in the case against Rowe. Berryment said he was only able to quickly read a state fire investigator’s nine-page affidavit. He said it seems, based on the state’s affidavit, that there possibly could be probable cause for, at the highest, a felony attempted arson or criminal conspiracy to commit arson charges, but not Class A arson charges.
A conviction on a Class A charge carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Rowe is said to be the driver of the car that took others around to burn the buildings.
The apartment building that was intended to be burned was not burned, Berryment said.
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins said probable cause was already proven when a warrant for Rowe’s arrest was issued by the court.
He was driving the vehicle that took them to the residences and to get gas, he said. Even if he didn’t light the match, he took part in the crime and he admitted to having a grudge against a resident that lived in the Main Street apartment building in Wilton, which started the chain of events, Robbins said.
That residence was not lit on fire because barking dogs scared at least one suspect away, according to the investigator’s affidavit. Instead, they lit the fire on Sewall Street, which is behind the Main Street residence, in hopes it would spread to the Main Street building. A state fire investigator said 13 people lived there, including five children, and if the building had burned, it would have been a horrific situation.
Judge Oram said she found probable cause in the case.
Robbins asked for $25,000 cash bail, which he considered to be a nominal amount, given the circumstances, he said.
Berryment argued for $800 cash bail or a pretrial contract. Rowe has lived in Wilton all of his life. He has no criminal or driving records and has a 15-month-old child, the attorney said. It appears there is a group of out-of-towners who came to town and Rowe ended up hanging around with them, Berryment said.
Co-defendant Duane Bailey, 27, of Carver, Mass., admitted to carrying the gas can to the three residences and igniting fires at two of them, the affidavit states. He is also reported to have a grudge against a man at the Main Street apartment building. He is charged with four counts of felony arson and a felony count of conspiracy to commit arson and is being held in jail on $50,000 cash bail.
Co-defendant Devon Pease, 22, of Jay who admitted to offering the use of a gas can with gas in it and being in the car for the Wilton events, faces two counts of felony arson and one count of felony conspiracy to commit arson. He is being held on $25,000 cash bail.