Convicted arsonist sentenced to additional year

  • Attorney David Rountree, representing Matthew Tetreault, seated center, articulates to Judge Richard Carey (unseen) during a hearing in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield on Wednesday. Tetreault, who in 2015 pleaded guilty to arson, two counts of burning a building, two counts of building the contents of a building and one count of malicious destruction of property over $250, was on Wednesday sentenced to a year in the Franklin County House of Correction in Greenfield for violating his parole. Recorder Staff/Domenic Poli

Staff Writer
Published: 3/18/2019 11:22:14 PM

GREENFIELD – The mother and daughter traumatized by the arson of two barns on their property five years ago had their voices heard the day one of the men convicted in that crime was sentenced to an extra year in prison for a probation violation.

Lisa Adams and her 17-year-old daughter spoke in Franklin County Superior Court about how their lives changed forever on March 26, 2014, when Matthew Tetreault and Adams’ stepson burned down a couple of 19th-century barns near 19 Hatchery Road in Montague in the early morning. Patriarch Robert Adams said the blaze caused an estimated $400,000 in damage, and Lisa Adams said it was set roughly 35 feet from where her daughters were sleeping. The Recorder is withholding the names of the daughters.

Judge Richard Carey sentenced Tetreault, 23, to one year in the house of correction on top of the three or four months remaining on his original sentence, which he has to serve for violating the terms of his probation.

The Adamses say Tetreault sent their daughter a social media friend request at 12:45 a.m. in November. This, they say, violates the no-contact order Tetreault was issued. In 2015, Tetreault pleaded guilty to one count of arson of a dwelling, two counts of burning a building, and two counts of burning the contents of a building.

Adams and her daughter fought tears as they read their statements.

The Adamses have moved out of state as a result of the stress and grief they felt in the Greenfield area, they said. But Lisa Adams also said Tetreault has posted to social media pictures of him and his girlfriend. She also said her daughter’s social media accounts are private and communication with her is impossible unless she accepts a friend request. This means, she said, Tetreault specifically searched for her daughter and sent a friend request.

“My daughter has lived in fear for five years. She’s had to go on medication, go to counseling and has needed an (Individualized Education Program) in school to help her with the PTSD and anxiety at school,” Lisa Adams read in court. “We moved again this past November, when this last incident occurred. We were in our new house for one week when the defendant tried to get in touch with her – her safe feeling gone again.”

Tetreault sat silently while the statements were read aloud, looking either forward or at the floor.

Lisa Adams asked the judge to be strict with him. She said she is tired of returning to court and reliving the worst night of her life.

“These are not mistakes,” she said. “These are not choices made from lack of good judgment. These are conscience-defiant choices made against the judicial system and, more importantly, the family he perpetrated his crime against.”

She said she was recently on vacation and saw a documentary about two young men who raped, murdered and burned a mother and two daughters during a Connecticut home invasion and who beat the father with a baseball bat.

“Both men came from similar backgrounds as the defendant – always defying the law, pushing the envelope to see what they could get away with, being paroled early and never really following the rules,” she read. “Now, does this prove that the defendant will be a rapist or a murderer? I don’t know. But I do know, first hand, that he’s capable of going to someone’s house in the middle of the night, pouring gas on two barns and setting them on fire, less than 35 feet from where they slept.”

Lisa Adams and her daughter cited their Christian faith as giving them the fortitude to move on.

The daughter, who was 12 at the time of the fire, quoted Philippians 4:13 of the New Testament of the Bible – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

She said she cannot believe she still must deal with Tetreault’s “impulsive, addictive and stalking behavior.”

“Matt requested to follow me at 12:45 in the morning. I was having a sleepover with a friend, and I couldn’t fall asleep, so I was scrolling through Snapchat stories when the notification came across my phone. The name I could never forget,” she read. “I was more creeped out at the fact that Matt’s an adult and has been for a couple years and I’m still a minor. I was really angry when I found out that he denied ever requesting to follow me.”

David Rountree, Tetreault’s attorney, argued that on the night of the fire, his client was an 18-year-old “skinny little kid” who was coerced into the crime by then-22-year-old Cody Lee Adams, Roberts Adams’ son from a previous marriage, who lived in Greenfield at the time. Robert Adams mentioned he and his son have a strained relationship and had gotten into an argument in the hours before the arson.

Rountree said Tetreault was not a stranger to the Adams family and had no criminal record prior to the incident. The three members of the Adams family present shook their heads in disbelief at some of Rountree’s comments. Rountree said he sees Tetreault often, and his client is complying with all court orders. He said there have been no violations of conditions of release.

He accused the Adams family of stalking his client on social media, saying this caused the daughter’s profile to come up as a suggested connection for Tetreault, who accidentally sent the request while not paying close enough attention to the name associated with the profile.

The daughter later said her name is not on the profile, but rather a screen name is.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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