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Exeter man indicted for escape attempt

BRENTWOOD - An Exeter man held at the county jail on arson charges was indicted last week for allegedly climbing a fence during an escape attempt in September, prosecutors said.

Robert Daigle, 30, was indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury on a single count of attempted escape, according to prosecutors. He already faces three counts of arson, criminal threatening and reckless conduct for allegedly firebombing an Exeter home on June 12.

Indictments released in Rockingham County Superior Court this week say that Daigle climbed the jail's fence on Sept. 14 while being held at the jail. The escape charge is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 3 to 7 years in state prison. Daigle will be arraigned on the new charge later this month in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Exeter police first arrested Daigle after questioning him about a fire near 32 Hilton Ave. He was seen near the fire by a patrol officer responding to the blaze, but had initially told police he was walking home from a friend's house, according to police.

The victim in the case, Roger Russo, told investigators that Daigle was a former employee that he had an ongoing dispute with, Detective Patrick Mulholland said in a sworn affidavit. Russo's GMC Sonoma pick-up truck was burnt in the fire, along with the side of a mobile home.

The blaze was extinguished by the Exeter Fire Department. Police found broken beer bottles stuffed with paper used for Molotov cocktails near the charred truck, according to police.

During a second interview with police, Daigle admitted to lighting a gas filled bottle on fire and throwing it at Russo's vehicle in the driveway, the affidavit says. Daigle told police he used pieces of a shirt to ignite them.

The criminal threatening, reckless conduct and two of the arson charges are Class B felonies, punishable by up to 3 to 7 years in state prison. One of the arson charges is a Class A felony, which carries a potential 7 to 15 year state prison term.

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