LONGMEADOW (CBS) – An East Longmeadow man has been convicted of two federal arson charges stemming from his attempt to blow up a Jewish assisted-living facility in April 2020.
After a trial that lasted a week, John Rathbun, 37, was convicted of attempting to transport or receive explosive devices in interstate or foreign commerce with the knowledge or intent that the device will be used to kill, injure or intimidate an individual and one count of attempting to maliciously damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, a building.
“Mr. Rathburn’s dangerous and cruel acts harmed not only the elderly residents of this Jewish assisted living facility, but also the entire community,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
On Nov. 23, 2020, a federal jury convicted Rathbun of making false statements to a federal agent, but deadlocked on the arson counts, requiring a re-trial.
Police found a full 5-gallon gas can near the entrance of Ruth’s House, a Jewish-sponsored residential facility on Converse Street in Longmeadow. The can had a burnt Christian religious pamphlet inside, as if it had been lit on fire to ignite the gas. Police said that bloodstains on the canister handle matched Rathbun’s DNA.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 12.