FARMINGTON — Three men intended to set fire to a house on Sewall Street in Wilton in June and beat the owner up, police say.

But the house had a barking dog, so the trio instead set fire to a nearby vacant house with gasoline, hoping the intended house would catch fire. It didn’t.

Revenge and a possible gang initiation were behind the fire, according to an affidavit filed in Franklin County Superior Court by the Office of the State Fire Marshal that led to the recent arrests of D’Kota R. Rowe, 20, of Wilton; Duane A. Bailey, 27, of Carver, Massachusetts; and Devon J. Pease, 22, of Jay.

The three are charged in setting the fire in Wilton on June 27. Rowe and Bailey are also charged with setting a fire that night in Carthage.

Rowe was arrested at the Skowhegan State Fair, where he worked, and the intended victim of the Wilton fire was another member of the fair circuit who had worked for Rowe’s mother, who owns several fair food concession businesses.

The affidavit said that Rowe and Bailey had an ongoing feud with the intended fire victim, accusing him of a burglary last year.

Rowe and Bailey were charged with four counts of class A arson and one count of class B conspiracy to commit arson Friday. Pease is charged with two counts of arson for the Wilton fire and with one count of conspiracy. He is not considered a suspect in the Carthage fire.

Pease was arrested by Jay police on Friday. Bailey already was in jail in Farmington, arrested by state police July 1 on separate burglary, theft and other charges.

Rowe and Bailey were also arrested in July in connection with several Franklin County convenience store burglaries.

A fourth man, Einer Bonilla, who was arrested with Rowe and Bailey in July on the burglary charges, is named by Rowe in the affidavit, but Bailey told investigators he was alone, not with Bonilla, for his part in the fire, and Bonilla wasn’t charged by authorities.

According to the nine-page affidavit in support of probable cause for the arrests written by Kenneth MacMaster of the fire marshal’s office, the men are charged with burning a house on Sewall Street in Wilton at about 2:30 a.m. June 27.

That home, a vacant single-wide mobile home, was not the original target, according to the court document. The original target was a large blue house — the residence of the man with whom Rowe and Bailey had an ongoing feud.

Barking dogs at the home and a motion sensor spotlight spurred the three to instead choose another house nearby, hoping it might catch the target house on fire, MacMaster wrote in the affidavit.

Rowe and Bailey wanted to burn the home with the intended victim inside — although he wasn’t home that night — and when he came out, they’d beat him up, MacMaster wrote. Living at the two-unit building were eight adults, five children and seven dogs.

The mobile home the trio allegedly set on fire “is physically located to the rear” of the original target home, and MacMaster wrote they hoped it would catch the victim’s house on fire and that “no one would suspect them.”

Rowe and Bailey believed the intended victim had stolen from Rowe’s mother, they told police. Rowe also told police he suspected the intended victim of having broken into the Rowe home and stealing items from the home. Wilton police investigated that burglary and theft report, including an interview with the intended victim, and no one was charged in the case.

Rowe said that Bailey also had “a separate beef” with the man, which Rowe said may be gang-related, MacMaster wrote.

The details of the night of the fires are characterized by heavy drinking and vague threats of gang retaliation.

Rowe said he didn’t report the fires because he was “fearful of the consequences from Bailey and/or Bonilla” and was threatened by them not to talk. He said he believed the Carthage fire “was the continuation of a gang thing between Bailey and Bonilla,” the affidavit says, but no further explanation is given.

Pease said he offered use of a gas can, and the three got it from his house and went to the Big Apple store on U.S. Route 2 in Wilton to fill it. Rowe said that when Bailey was “too drunk to figure out how to pump the gas into the container,” Rowe did it.

Pease told investigators he was under the impression the fires were “some sort of gang initiation” and said he was involved because he wasn’t thinking clearly because of a head injury he’d suffered in a fall from a building at the University of Maine in Farmington in 2013.

After the Wilton fire, he asked to be taken home, which he was, and said he didn’t report the fire “because of the gang talk.” No gang name is mentioned in the affidavit. MacMaster could not be reached for comment Monday.

An inmate at the Franklin County jail initially tipped off authorities about the arson fires, and interviews followed, ultimately resulting in the arrests of Rowe, Bailey and Pease.

The arson fire on Winter Hill Road in Carthage, according to the affidavit, allegedly was set by Rowe and Bailey about an hour after the Wilton fire.

The Carthage structure was a log-style camp, which was vacant. As in the Wilton fire, gasoline was allegedly poured over the front of the house and an open flame device, such as a cigarette lighter, was used to set the gasoline ablaze. The camp, owned by a couple from Mexico, Maine, was destroyed.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office plan to hold a joint news conference about the case at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Farmington.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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