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Mass. Fire Officials Furious Over Judge’s Plea Deal With Serial Arson Suspects

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BROCKTON (CBS) – Fire officials on the South Shore are furious over a plea deal being offered to two men charged in connection with a series of arson fires.

Mark Sargent and his stepson Jeanmarie Louis were suspected of setting 24 fires in South Shore and South Coast communities in 2012 and 2013.

Now, the two are expected to plead guilty on Friday to setting a number of those fires as part of a deal that will include a one-to-three year sentence.

Because of time served, one of the men is expected to be released immediately and the other later this year.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of at least eight years.

In a statement, Whitman Fire Chief Timothy Grenno, who is president of the Plymouth County Fire Chiefs Association issued a harsh rebuke of the judge in the case.

“Firefighters and other Public Safety Officials go to work each day, placing their lives on the line to help others. All we ask in return is for our judicial system to have our backs in cases of arson,” the statement said. “This is a case where the judicial system has thrown mud in our face, and the faces of everyone affected by these serial arsonists. When a judge goes outside the sentencing guidelines to this extent, they are sending a strong message that the crime of arson is not a serious assault on the sense of security we should all have when we are in our homes,” the statement said in part.

Fire chiefs from across the area are expected to attend Friday’s sentencing in a show of support for crews and investigators who were involved in the case.

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