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Man to plead guilty to arson charges

BRENTWOOD — The last of three men indicted for allegedly firebombing a Danville house using Molotov cocktails intends to plead guilty to arson-related charges.

Jonathan Balamotis, 20, of Plaistow may receive a 12-month jail sentence — similar to his two co-defendants in the case — but he could face more time behind bars for an unrelated assault case in Kingston as well, court documents indicate.

Balamotis would serve the full 12 months in county jail and remain on probation for two years, according to terms of the deal. He is expected to plead guilty to charges of arson and one count of conspiracy.

Balamotis is accused of trying to burn down a house on Beach Plain Road in Danville on Feb. 23, 2011, to get revenge against two brothers following a drug deal that went awry, according to prosecutors. Neither of the men lived at that home, prosecutors said. The homeowners saw two men running down their driveway on the night of the fire. The blaze burned part of a garage.

Two other men have already been sentenced in the arson case.

Ryan Sawyer, 20, of Kingston was sentenced in December to a year in jail and was allowed to apply for work release. He pleaded guilty to use of a Molotov cocktail and reckless conduct.

Ryan Reed, 20, of Sandown received a deferred state prison sentence after pleading guilty in November to accomplice to use of a Molotov cocktail.

Prosecutors sought more charges against Balamotis last July for an unrelated assault in Kingston.

He faces two counts of second-degree assault in connection with beating a man in the head with a bottle on March 5 in Kingston.

Assistant County Attorney Howard Helrich wrote in court papers that the county expects to reach a plea agreement with the assault case as well. Terms of that possible plea have not yet been made public.

Charges in the arson case carried a prison term of up to 7 to 15 years had Balamotis been convicted at trial. The second-degree assault charges are punishable by up to 3 to 7 years in prison.

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