Man Convicted Of Trying To Set Fire To Jewish Nursing Home

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A man has been convicted of using a homemade bomb to try to set fire to a Jewish-sponsored assisted living facility in Massachusetts last year, federal prosecutors say.

John Rathbun, 37, of East Longmeadow, was convicted by a jury this week in U.S. District Court in Springfield of attempting to transport or receive explosive devices and attempting to maliciously damage or destroy personal property in an attempt to kill, injure or intimidate, according to a statement Wednesday from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.

Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 12. Rathbun faces up to 15 year in prison.

Rathbun placed a 5-gallon (19-litre) canister containing gasoline with a Christian religious pamphlet as the wick outside the entrance of Ruth’s House, part of Jewish Geriatric Services Lifecare, Inc. in Longmeadow on April 2, 2020, prosecutors said.

His DNA was found on the canister and wick, authorities said.

The facility is a Jewish-sponsored assisted living center for seniors of all faiths.

Rathbun’s lawyer said prosecutors did not present evidence that his client harbors any ill will toward Jewish people and plans to appeal.

Rathbun was convicted in November of lying to agents investigating the attempted arson, but a jury deadlocked on the arson counts, prompting a retrial.

(AP)