Milo man gets one year in arson for insurance

Posted Feb. 02, 2009, at 9:32 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:02 a.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A Milo man who deliberately set fire to his Second Street home to collect insurance money was sentenced Monday to six years in prison with all but one year suspended.

Shane Smith, 20, who was represented in court Monday by attorney Julio DeSanctis of Bangor, also was sentenced to one year in prison for burglary, one year for theft, and 30 days for filing a false accident report. The latter sentences will be served concurrently with the arson sentence. He also was ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution and was placed on four years probation.

The maximum sentence for arson is 30 years in prison.

“I made a mistake,” Smith said in the Piscataquis County Superior Court hearing held in 13th District Court. “I did the wrong thing; I tried to take the easy way out.”

Smith told Judge Kevin Stitham that he and his wife wanted to move to Florida. He said the burning of his house in March 2008 would give him a paycheck so the couple could start over in Florida.

The burglary and theft charges involved a Lakeview home where Smith and his then girlfriend stayed after the fire, according to Investigator Guy Dow of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department. Dow said earlier the home was rented to Smith, but a garage on the property was off-limits. He said a door to the garage was broken into and fishing poles, tools and a large tool chest were stolen.

Regarding the charge of giving false information, Milo Police Chief Michael Poulin said previously that Smith had struck a deer with his motor vehicle earlier in the year and collected from his insurance company. He then attempted to collect insurance again involving the same accident.

In analyzing the case, Stitham said he took into account the nature and seriousness of the arson offense, that the fire was set at night, there was a mortgage on the house, and the home was in a neighborhood. He also took into account that Smith has a mental illness, that he had not put a lot of pre-thought into the arson, and that he got his girlfriend and animals safely out of the house. The judge also noted that Smith had since obtained his general equivalency degree and that he had admitted his guilt.

“Arson is an incredibly serious offense,” Stitham told Smith. He also told him that it was critical he do a significant amount of time. The sentence was in line with other fires that had been deliberately set for insurance claims since 1999, according to Stitham.

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