BANGOR, Maine — A member of the Penobscot Indian Nation was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to three years and one month in prison for taking part in a scheme to firebomb the home of a Tribal Council member two years ago.
The impact the incident has had on the tight-knit community on Indian Island continues to resonate, Indian Island Police Chief Robert Bryant told U.S. District Judge John Woodcock at the sentencing of Alex Glossian.
Glossian and another unnamed individual made Molotov cocktails on June 2, 2010, using gasoline and 40-ounce beer bottles, according to court documents. Two of the devices were then lit and thrown through the windows of a home on Oak Hill Road on Indian Island, One of the devices was retrieved intact from the house. The second device ignited after shattering a bedroom window and caused extensive damage, but no one was injured.
In addition to prison time, Woodcock sentenced Glossian to three years of supervised release and ordered the defendant to pay a $1,000 fine and $9,070 in restitution to the victim.
“This crime had a profound and chilling impact on the community on Indian Island,” Woodcock said shortly before imposing Glossian’s sentence. “No one knew the reason for it and the community became frightened.
“The seriousness of this crime, the impact on the victim and the community and the fact that you could have foreseen that impact requires a serious sentence,” the judge continued. “The fact that you have learned your lesson does not erase the fact that you committed a crime.”
Bryant said that when the crime occurred no one knew the motive behind it. Because a Tribal Council member was targeted, people wondered if it was an attack on the government. Elders on the island were unsettled because it was so “out of the norm” and the one-person patrol was doubled seven days a week, the police chief said.
“At first, no one knew if it was someone who lived on the island or someone from off the island,” Bryant told Woodcock. “There was talk of putting up a gate at the end of the bridge to the island. Instead, we put up a camera to capture the cars and people on foot who come on and off the island. At the end of the day, it has changed our community and changed it forever.”
He said that two-officer patrols continue five days a week, a cost that strains the tribe’s limited resources.
Glossian, who grew up on Indian Island, apologized to the victim, who did not attend the sentencing, as well as to his family and the court.
“I can’t say I’m sorry enough about what I was a part of,” he said. “I’m glad I did get caught. I can probably never say I’m sorry enough for the incident.”
No one else has been charged in connection with the fire bombing, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Moore said after the sentencing. Moore described the crime as an “arson for hire” for which Glossian was paid $1,000.
Woodcock said the fire bombing appeared to have been instigated by a third person who had a grudge against the victim “based on rumors. The third party offered the defendant and another person $2,000 to do something to [the victim],” the judge said.
Glossian, who had no prior criminal record, faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, he faced between three years and one month and three years and 10 months behind bars.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Penobscot Indian Nation Police Department and the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.