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Guilty plea expected in arson

BRENTWOOD — A second person tied to the arson of a Danville house is expected to plead guilty to his role in the case, court papers say.

A judge has set a plea hearing for Ryan Sawyer, 20, of Kingston in Rockingham County Superior Court after meeting with lawyers briefly this past week and cancelling the Nov. 14 trial.

Sawyer is facing charges of arson, conspiracy to commit arson, use of a Molotov cocktail and reckless conduct.

Terms of the plea deal have not been made public yet.

It comes a week after Ryan Reed, 20, of Sandown pleaded guilty to being an accomplice in the use of a Molotov cocktail and received a suspended prison sentence. Prosecutors say Reed drove Sawyer and Jonathan Balamotis, 20, of Plaistow to a store in Plaistow where they bought lighter fluid that was poured into 40-ounce bottles.

Reed then drove Balamotis and Sawyer to the Danville home around 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, believing the two brothers they were feuding with lived there, according to prosecutors.

Sawyer and Balamotis got out of the car and threw a pair of Molotov cocktails at a garage attached to the home, according to indictments.

Balamotis and Sawyer ran from the home after allegedly throwing the Molotov cocktails.

The noise alerted the home-owners, who called 911 after seeing flames near the house and two men running away from the house, prosecutors said. The fire didn&#';t have time to spread. It was doused with a bowl of water, according to Assistant County Attorney Brian Lee.

The charges carry a potential prison term of up to 7 to 15 years.

Balamotis is also facing two counts of second-degree assault in connection with beating a man in the head with a bottle on March 5 in Kingston.

The assault happened days after Balamotis allegedly took part in the arson, but it is not connected to the arson case, prosecutors said.

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