LACONIA — A Tilton man is being held on a total of $7,000 cash-only bail for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail on an woman's car while it was parked in a friend's driveway in Belmont Monday.
According to police, Shawn McKenney, 26, of 377 West St. had been in a relationship with the alleged victim and knew she was dating a man who lived on Concord Street in Belmont. Belmont Prosecutor Dave Estes said in the 4th Circuit Court yesterday that he likely knew where she would be.
When he drove by the house and saw her car, McKenney allegedly went to the Circle K gas station, bought some gas and rummaged around for a glass bottle and a rag and made a Molotov cocktail.
McKenney is alleged to have returned to Concord Street and thrown the device onto her car. She was in the house and called emergency crews who quickly extinguished the fire.
Police said witnesses noticed a passing driver discarded a burning gasoline container. Shortly after, a Tilton Police officer located McKenney's car and noticed a fresh burn mark on an interior door panel. McKenney clothes also showed signs of recent exposure to fire.
Belmont police interviewed McKenney in Tilton on Monday and were able to get a warrant for his arrest based on the conversation.
In court Tuesday, Estes argued for a minimum of $5,000 cash bail. He said McKenney had recently been arraigned in the Sixth Circuit Court, Franklin Division for a domestic assault on a different person with whom he had been involved.
McKenney's public defender argued for personal recognizance bail, saying his client said he has multiple mental health diagnoses including bipolar disorder and depression. He suggested to the court that McKenney be released and get some mental health counseling.
Attorney John Bresaw argued that McKenney has no criminal convictions, is not a flight risk and has lived in the area for his entire adult life, right now with his mother.
Bresaw went on to say McKenney's primary care physician said McKenney has recently been taking prescription Prednisone and it may have caused him some mental health issues. As for his mental health diagnoses, Bresaw said McKenney isn't currently being medicated.
After consideration, Judge Jim Carroll said that the nature of the crimes were too serious and the potential danger to the community is so great that McKenney should be held in jail.
Bail was set a $5,000 for the Class B felony of making a Molotov cocktail and $2,000 for the Class A misdemeanor of arson. Under state statute, if the damage is less than $1,000, that the target is not a dwelling and doesn't mean to cause personal injury and if the intent of the alleged arson wasn't to defraud an insurance company, arson is a misdemeanor.
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