Two sent to prison in Athol arson

ATHOL — Two Worcester County men have received state prison sentences after pleading guilty to burning a vacant house last year.

Kevin Thibodeau of Athol and Bryant Defresne of Leominster, both 19 at the time of the January 2013 arson, each pleaded guilty to charges of arson of a dwelling, breaking and entering in the daytime to commit a felony and causing injury to a firefighter.

They were sentenced Thursday by Judge Mary Lou Rup in Franklin County Superior Court.

Thibodeau was sentenced to three to five years in the MCI-Cedar Junction state prison in Walpole on the arson charge, followed by three years of probation for the other two charges. He was given credit for 453 days served while awaiting trial.

Defresne was sentenced to three to five years in the Walpole prison on the arson charge, and two years of probation on the remaining charges. He was given credit for 452 days served while awaiting trial.

The prosecution had sought five- to seven-year sentences for each, followed by two years of probation.

The single-family house, at 147 High St., was vacant when the two set fire to it. Owners Richard and Patricia Adams had been in the process of moving out, and most of their belongings had already been removed.

A firefighter slipped on the ice while fighting the blaze. He was treated for his injuries at Athol Memorial Hospital, and released the same night.

When they are released on probation, both men have been ordered to have no association with each other, and to have no contact with Patricia Adams. They must also undergo mental health and anger management evaluations and follow any treatment recommendations.

Thibodeau was also ordered to remain drug and alcohol free, and submit to random urine tests.

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