NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Anthony Baye committed these crimes in his own neighborhood, a neighborhood where his mother and father still live. And news of the plea deal came as a surprise to many, including those who knew him.
"You're not going to tell me this person is a murderer, because he's not. He did not intentionally set those fires to murder anyone," said Cameron Mitchell on Main Street Monday.
Mitchell was born and raised in Northampton and met Anthony Baye in high school. He says that aside from liking to party, he never noticed anything out of the ordinary.
"Honestly he wasn't a bad dude. I didn't notice anything wrong with him where I would call any red flags or anything like that. It's sad to hear that he did plead guilty to something like that," said Mitchell.
Baye plead guilty to 48 charges; all of which stemmed from fires he set here in the city's third ward. It's a neighborhood he also called home, he lived on Hawley Street with his family.
According to a release by the Northwestern District Attorney's Office, "Baye pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter, four counts of armed burglary, six counts of misleading police, 15 counts of setting fire to or attempting to set fire to houses, cars and buildings on Dec. 27, 2009 and 12 arson-related counts in connection with fires in 2007 and earlier in 2009."
"Capital convictions are tough even with confessions. And ultimately, I know that the DA's office views it as often times more efficient to get a guilty plea, you firmly lock up the case," said Northampton resident Joel Kaminsky.
The plea deal means Baye could face up to 20 years in prison. Some third ward residents say the conviction won't bring their neighbors back.
"It may give some people closure. I don't personally see that it changes anything. People are still dead, houses are still burned down. Revenge will get us nothing," said Erinn Ervin.
Others fear the deal will mean less time behind bars for Baye. "If they keep him in for 20 years that would be great; my concern might be, is the 20 on good behavior going to get reduced to four or five. It will be insubstantial. And I'm sure people who have lost relatives will be pretty distressed," said Kaminsky.
Sentencing will be moved back to the Hampshire County Superior Courthouse in Northampton and is set to start Wednesday. Some residents say they plan on attending sentencing hearings.