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Dalton man sentenced to one year in jail for torching Biden-Harris hay bales

A 50-year-old Dalton man was sentenced to a year in jail on Thursday for setting fire to a big Biden-Harris sign made from hay bales at a local farm in October, prosecutors said.

In a statement, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington’s office confirmed the sentence meted out to Lonnie Durfee in Pittsfield District Court. Durfee will receive credit for the 108 days he spent locked up while the case was pending, records show.

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He pleaded guilty to one count of burning personal property, and his yearlong bid is the maximum jail term for such an offense, Harrington’s office said. He’ll serve his time at the Berkshire County House of Correction.

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Robert D. Sullivan Jr., a lawyer for Durfee, said via email that his client “told the judge that he is sorry for what he did and is sorry for the impact it had on the community.”

Sullivan added that he and Durfee were “disappointed” prosecutors sought the maximum jail term, and that the judge agreed.

“He was not required to accept the sentence and could have elected to have a trial,” Sullivan wrote. “However, after careful thought, he wanted to take responsibility, begin his sentence, and utilize the services at the jail to make improvements in his life for when he is released.”

Officials have said Durfee lit up the 15-foot display at the Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton on Oct. 9.

The Globe reported in October that Durfee told investigators he was a Trump supporter who burned the sign backing the Democratic presidential ticket while he was drunk and grieving the death of his son. He also told police he burned another Biden-Harris sign placed on a lawn beside his parents’ home in Dalton.

“The use of fire has a deeply rooted association with political and civil rights intimidation. This fire victimized not only the property owners but represented a threat to entire communities,” Harrington said in Thursday’s statement. “This sentence sends a message that our community will not accept those types of actions and that civility and respect will prevail.”

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Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.