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Police: Lebanon church arson suspect angry at God

Union Leader Correspondent

January 10. 2017 8:18PM
A Lebanon man charged with setting a fire that destroyed the First Baptist Church told police he set the fire because he was angry at God. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)

LEBANON — The Lebanon man charged with arson in the fire that destroyed the First Baptist Church said he set the fire because he was angry at God for making him a pedophile, police said.

Anthony K. Boisvert, 27, of 8 Tannery Lane, was brought into district court in chains Tuesday afternoon for a probable cause hearing on four felony charges — two charges of arson and two first-degree assault charges for allegedly stabbing two people just before his Jan. 1 arrest.

Police responded to the fire at the First Baptist Church on School Street about 11:20 p.m. Dec. 28 and then were called to an apartment building fire about an hour later on Mascoma Street.

Police found a smoldering sofa in the apartment building’s basement that had been doused by fire sprinklers.

When interviewed by police after his arrest Boisvert admitted to setting the fire and explained why, Lebanon Police Lt. Matthew Isham said while testifying at the probable cause hearing.

“He said he started the fire ’cause he knew that there were kids living there. And he said he started the church fire because he was mad at God for making him a pedophile,” Isham said.

Boisvert also told police how he committed the church building arson, Isham said. He told police he forced his way into the church on the Green Street side, then went through the nursery to the pastor’s office, where he watched “kiddie porn” on the computer, then used a U.S. flag to start the fire in the main area of the church, making sure it was burning fully before leaving.

Isham said Boisvert also admitted to stabbing Wade Bennett, 52, and Diane Faughnan, 66, on Jan. 1 out of retaliation because Bennett had reported him to the police for the church arson, which Boisvert had bragged to Bennett about, Isham said.

Just before the report of the stabbings on Jan. 1, Boisvert’s pregnant wife called police saying where he was and that she was concerned about him hurting himself.

Bennett had up to 25 stab wounds to his head, neck and chest and Faughnan had about six stab wounds to her head and neck, Isham said.

The pair was bleeding heavily when the ambulance workers arrived, Isham said. The victims were treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and released that night.

After stabbing Bennett and Faughnan with a serrated steak knife at Bennett’s apartment, Boisvert fled to his twin sister’s home on Tannery Lane, where police arrested him.

During the short cruiser ride to the police station Boisvert said everyone at his sister’s home was lucky he couldn’t get inside, Isham said.

“He asked if he killed anybody, referring to Wade and Diane. He said it was lucky he didn’t get inside the house ’cause he would have killed his cousin. He would have killed anybody inside the house,” Isham said. “He asked if we were using a helicopter, then he laughed and said he had reached his destination.”

District court judge Henrietta Luneau made a finding of probable cause. The case is now bound over to the Grafton County Superior Court in New Haverhill.

There was no argument for a bail change. Boisvert was returned to the county jail where he continues to be held in lieu of $500,000 cash-only bail.

Courts Crime Lebanon

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