Mistrial declared in case of attempted arson at Longmeadow assisted living facility


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A federal court judge has declared a mistrial in the case of an East Longmeadow resident accused of attempting to set fire to a Jewish assisted living facility in Longmeadow.

Monday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni dismissed the jury in the trial of John Michael Rathbun, after they failed to reach a unanimous verdict on two of the three counts against him.

Rathbun was accused of making an explosive device out of a small gasoline container that was left outside Ruth’s House assisted living facility on Converse Street April 2. No one was hurt in the incident.

An FBI complaint stated that agents had found a white supremacist organization on the Internet where users had planned to target the Jewish-affiliated facility, but they had not explicitly connected Rathbun to the organization.

The jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on charges of attempt to transport and receive an explosive, as well as a charge of attempt to damage and destroy buildings by fire and explosive. They did reach a guilty verdict on a portion of the third count against Rathbun: making false statements.

The defense has motioned to release Rathbun. The court will hold a hearing on this request Wednesday morning.

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