DA: Dalton man accused of burning “USA Biden Harris 2020” hay bales display held without bail

Berkshire County

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DALTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A judge on Friday ordered a Dalton man accused of burning a display of hay bales showing support for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign held without bail under the dangerousness statute. 

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office said they successfully argued that the latest actions of 49-year-old Lonnie Durfee made him a risk to the public, “Our number one job is to protect the public. This ruling keeps a dangerous person from potentially causing additional harm to members of our community.” 

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District Attorney Andrea Harrington stated, “I thank Judge Smyth for his thoughtful consideration of the facts we presented in making his determination. Mr. Durfee’s record shows that he has engaged in a pattern of domestic violence, including strangulation, a strong indicator of potential lethality. Mr. Durfee’s recent arson allegations are particularly concerning in light of his violent history because he is escalating his hostility against the public at large.” 

On October 9, around 6:40 p.m., the Dalton Police and Fire Departments received a report that the hay bales were on fire, according to Police Sergeant Deanna Strout. The bales of hay were destroyed in the fire. 

The Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton had recently created the display of hay bales wrapped in plastic and wrote “USA Biden Harris 2020” on them. The display was placed along Route 9 for vehicles driving by to see.

Sergeant Strout told 22News officers determined the hay bales were purposely set on fire and arrested Durfee. Durfee has been charged with burning personal property. 

He was arraigned on Tuesday, October 13, at the Central Berkshire District Court. Dalton Police worked with the Massachusetts State Police Fire Marshall’s office and the investigation is ongoing.

If you have any information on the incident, you are asked to call Dalton Police at 413-684-0300. 

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