COLCORD PLEADS GUILTY TO STRING OF CARROLL COUNTY FIRES

by Christian Mower on March 6, 2012

A FORMER VOLUNTEER WITH THE MADISON FIRE DEPARTMENT WILL SPEND THE NEXT YEAR AND A HALF IN THE CARROLL COUNTY JAIL WITH A POTENTIAL STATE PRISON TERM UP TO SEVEN YEARS SUSPENDED FOR 10 YEARS AFTER BEING SENTENCED MONDAY FOR SETTING A NUMBER OF FIRES IN SEVERAL TOWNS IN CARROLL COUNTY IN THE SUMMER OF 2011.

CARROLL COUNTY ATTORNEY TOM DEWHURST SAYS 19-YEAR-OLD JOHN COLCORD CONFESSED TO SETTING THE FIRES AND AGREED TO PLEAD GUILTY TO FIVE FELONY ARSON CHARGES AND SIX MISDEMEANORS IN CONNECTION WITH STRUCTURE FIRES AND BRUSHFIRES THAT TERRORIZED RESIDENTS IN EATON, FREEDOM, MADISON AND TAMWORTH. THE PLEA DEAL MEANS COLCORD WILL AVOID A TRIAL ON THE CHARGES.

INVESTIGATORS INCLUDED MADISON POLICE CHIEF JAMIE MULLEN, FREEDOM POLICE CHIEF JOSH SHACKFORD, MADISON FIRE CHIEF RICK JUDKINS, NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE POLICE, THE DIVISION OF FOREST AND LANDS AND THE NEW HAMPSHIRE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE.

COLCORD’S ARREST LATE IN THE SUMMER OF 2011 CAME AS A SHOCK AS HE HAS RELATIVES WHO HAVE WORKED – OR ARE WORKING – IN RANKING FIREFIGHTER POSITIONS. AFTER COLCORD’S ARREST, MULLEN SAID IT DID NOT REFLECT ON THE GOOD WORK DONE BY THE NEARLY TWO DOZEN MEMBERS OF THE MADISON FIRE DEPARTMENT AND THAT JUDKINS WANTED ONE THING – AND ONE THING ONLY THROUGH THE INVESTIGATION – TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH ABOUT WHO WAS SETTING THE FIRES.

NO ONE WAS HURT AS A RESULT OF THE FIRES HE SET BUT AS PART OF HIS SENTENCE COLCORD MUST MAKE RESTITUTION OF NEARLY $2 MILLION. HE WILL ALSO HAVE TO PERFORM 500 HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE, UNDERGO A PERIOD OF PROBATION, CONTINUE COUNSELING AND ARSON RELATED THERAPY – AND HE IS FORBIDDEN TO HAVE CONTACT WITH ANY OF HIS VICTIMS.

DEWHURST SAYS THE VICTIMS WERE CONSULTED BEFORE COLCORD WAS SENTENCED MONDAY AFTERNOON IN SUPERIOR COURT IN OSSIPEE.

COLCORD HAS BEEN UNDER HOUSE ARREST FOR SIX MONTHS AND HAS ALREADY BEGUN SERVING HIS SENTENCE.