Massachusetts Man Who Attempted Arson Attack at Jewish Retirement Home Indicted on Two Counts
A Massachusetts man suspected of attempted arson attack at a Jewish retirement home was indicted on federal charges on Tuesday.
Prosecutors allege that 36-year-old John Michael Rathbun tried but failed to ignite a partially-filled five-gallon fuel canister next to the driveway entrance to Ruth’s House, an assisted living facility in the town of East Longmeadow.
They said that Rathbun’s DNA — on file from a previous conviction — matched bloodstains that were found on the handle of the canister and on a semi-charred Christian religious pamphlet that had been stuffed in the nozzle as a fuse.
Rathbun now faces a criminal trial on two counts: transporting explosives with the intent to kill and attempted destruction of property.
If convicted, Rathbun faces up to to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 on each charge.
He has a history of drug use and petty crimes, including breaking and entering and receiving stolen property.
Rathbun’s defense team has denied reports that client was connected with white supremacist groups in the region.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper — associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center — commented, “We hope this Jew-hating monster’s indictment leads to successful prosecution and long prison sentence for the shocking targeting of the most vulnerable part of the Jewish community — our elderly.”