June 19, 2018
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Prosecutor seeks higher bail on suspect in Union arson

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Knox County’s district attorney said he wants to increase substantially the bail on a 52-year-old Union man accused of setting a fire that heavily damaged his former wife’s home.

Charles H. Johnson is set to be released by April 6 from the Maine Correctional Center in South Windham where he is serving a sentence for an unrelated theft. District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said he will ask the court to increase the bail on Johnson on an arson charge before the suspect is released from jail.

Johnson was indicted in October 2011 by a Knox County grand jury for arson in connection with a Dec. 5, 2009, fire at Christine Johnson’s home on Serenity Lane in Union. He also was indicted at the same time for a burglary at his ex-wife’s home and for a burglary, theft and criminal mischief at another home in Union all on the same day as the arson in 2009.

The house that was set on fire had been the family’s home, but the two had divorced, Rushlau said. The house had significant damage including to the contents, but no one was injured.

The fire was investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office at the time but no charges were filed until the grand jury issued its indictments five months ago.

Bail had been set at $10,000 cash on the arson charge. Rushlau said while that bail is high, he will argue for substantially higher bail.

A hearing on Rushlau’s motion was set for Feb. 28 but was rescheduled to March 6 in Knox County Superior Court.

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