(June 24, 2020 / JNS) A man in Western Massachusetts was indicted on Tuesday on federal charges for attempted arson outside a Jewish assisted-living facility in Longmeadow.
John Michael Rathbun, 36, of East Longmeadow was charged with “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 any individual or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle; and attempting to maliciously damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property used in interstate or foreign commerce,” reported MassLive.
In April, Rathbun was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted arson after local police found a plastic gas container, with burned paper in its nozzle, on April 2 outside Ruth’s House, an assisted-living home for seniors of all faiths.
The paper inside the failed explosive was a Christian religious pamphlet. Part of it “was charred and appeared to have been lit on fire in an attempt to ignite the gas,” according to the complaint, written by Special Agent Ryan McGonigle and assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
In addition to the paper, blood discovered on the side of the gas canister was run through the FBI database and matched Rathbun’s DNA, which was stored in a federal database because of his past 2011 arrests.
Rathbun initially denied the allegations, reported NBC News.
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