2nd man guilty in 'Little Lamb' fire

By Gary V. Murray TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

Mr._RousseauWORCESTER — A second Clinton man was convicted yesterday of setting a series of fires in Central and Western Massachusetts three years ago.

A Superior Court jury deliberated for about 5-1/2 hours over two days before finding John Rousseau, 30, of 266 Wilson St., Clinton, guilty of four counts of arson and single counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony, malicious destruction of property, and malicious injury to railroad property.

The charges arose from fires on July 29, 2007, in a railroad shed in the town of Florida; July 30, 2007, at the former Usher paper mill in Erving; Aug. 13, 2007, at the so-called "Mary Had a Little Lamb House" at 108 Maple St., Sterling; and Aug. 14, 2007, at a barn on the former Sandstrom dairy farm at 106 Bond Road, Holden.

A co-defendant, Michael P. Dreslinski, 30, of 60 Water St., Clinton, was found guilty after a separate trial last month.

Judge John S. McCann has scheduled sentencing for both men for Nov. 23. Mr. Rousseau and Mr. Dreslinski are to remain in custody without bail until sentencing.

Evidence against the two suspects included data from a global positioning system tracking device that was put on Mr. Dreslinski's pickup truck by state police assigned to the office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley. Prosecutors said the device placed the vehicle at all four fires.

Judge McCann also has scheduled a hearing Nov. 23 on a motion filed yesterday by Mr. Dreslinski's lawyer, Sean M. McGinty, seeking a new trial for his client. The motion is based on a lock introduced into evidence at Mr. Dreslinski's trial as one found during a search Aug. 19, 2007, of Mr. Rousseau's home and described as identical to a lock that had been on the railroad shed in Florida.

Prosecutors later learned that the lock put into evidence at trial was not the one seized from Mr. Rousseau's home, but was a sample lock that investigators had asked for as they prepared for a search warrant.