Arson charge dismissed against Gilmanton man; two other counts stand
LACONIA — A Circuit Court judge dismissed an arson charge against a Gilmanton man Tuesday but found probable charge on two other counts of arson in connection with a pair of January blazes.
Jason E. Clairmont, 36, of 33 Mallard Lane, was arrested Feb. 4 on three counts of arson accusing him of setting fire to a car parked Sept. 4, 2013, in the lot at the Funky Monkey night club, and starting two other fires on Jan. 25 — in a car parked at Bowman and Academy streets, and in some lattice work on a house at 91 Highland St.
Judge James Carroll, who presided at the probable cause hearings in 4th Circuit Court, Laconia District Division, ruled prosecutors did not have enough evidence to charge Clairmont with the Sept. 4 blaze and dismissed that charge.
According to the Laconia Daily Sun, the fire caused $2,500 in damage to the car's top. Investigators believed the blaze was started when an open flame, such as a cigarette lighter, was held to it.
Clairmont told police he staggered into the car while smoking a cigar. Surveillance tapes showed Clairmont walking near the car, but little else, the Laconia Daily Sun reported.
The judge found probable cause on the other two arson counts, and those cases were forwarded to Belknap County Superior Court for possible indictments by a grand jury.
Clairmont was arrested after an investigation by police, the state Fire Marshal's Office and the Laconia Fire Department.