A Concord man will serve up to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to setting a River Road shed fire in 2018 that killed several chickens, officials said.
Christopher Vincent, 44, will serve a minimum of 3½ and maximum of 7 years for two counts of felony arson and a charge of animal cruelty, Merrimack County Attorney Paul Halvorsen said in a release.
Vincent had previously been found guilty of arson on June 2, 2021, following a multi-day jury trial. He was convicted of a class B felony for setting a building at 42 Chestnut St. in Pittsfield on fire.
At his July 14 sentencing hearing, Vincent pled guilty to an additional class B felony arson for starting a fire which damaged a chicken coop in Concord and a misdemeanor cruelty to animals for killing the chickens within that coop.
Vincent was sentenced to an additional 3-6 years in state prison, which will be suspended for five years upon his release from his current sentence.
On the cruelty to animals charge he was sentenced to 12 months committed, which will be served concurrently with his current sentence.
“Vincent’s actions presented a clear danger not only to the community, but to the safety of the first responders,” Halvorsen said in a statement.
A roughly 10-foot by 10-foot shed was discovered on fire around 4:10 a.m. on April 1, 2018, at 151 River Road, according to the Concord Fire Department. The shed was used to store gardening equipment on the upper level and more than a dozen chickens were housed on the bottom level, according to an affidavit.
While investigating multiple fires in Rockingham County in September, Anthony Harvey, an investigator with the state Fire Marshal’s office, obtained a search warrant for Vincent’s Google accounts between Jan. 1, 2014, and Oct. 12, 2019. Vincent had been linked to nine similar fires in the previous six years, according to an affidavit.
“Within the search history of the accounts belonging to Christopher Vincent it was apparent that Vincent regularly searches the internet for updates on local arson investigations,” Harvey wrote.
The data showed Vincent’s device was at 151 River Road just before the fire was reported. He searched “gps tracker” at 4:17 a.m. and “arson fires in northwood nh under investigation in new hampshire” at 3:01 p.m. the day of the fire, according to the affidavit.
The fire caused approximately $15,000 in damage.
Vincent has a 2002 conviction for arson, according to the affidavit. He was also indicted for two arsons in Pittsfield in 2016 and 2018.
“In 2016, the target was an unattended house,” Harvey wrote. “In 2017, the target was a large storage shed similar to the target of 4/01/2018. Both of those arsons occurred during the hours of darkness.”