By Laurel J. Sweet
The Boston Herald
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Arson gumshoes in Springfield said they bagged a convicted firebug red-footed at a 'deliberately set' apartment-house torching thanks to the GPS bracelet that showed probationer Jeremy Morin at the Central Street property just before it went up in flames.
"This was a first for us," said Lt. John Friberg, head of the Springfield Fire Department's arson squad.
Morin, 33, was placed on electronic monitoring in February after his release from state prison, Springfield police said, where he served 10 years for arson.
The trash-fueled fire, two doors down from where police said Morin was living, broke out Sunday at about 2 a.m. and gutted a vacant, boarded-up multifamily dwelling.
"It was deliberately set," Friberg said. "Luckily, the house was vacant. At 2 in the morning, it's a whole different scenario."
Sunday was the one day that Morin was not required to check in with his probation officer, department spokesman Coria Holland said. Still, Hampden Superior Court Chief Probation Officer Steven Ashe told police Morin's GPS tracker showed him at the scene of the fire. Morin was arrested Tuesday. He is being held on $150,000 cash bail.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in January that law enforcement cannot intentionally track a suspected criminal's movements by attaching a GPS device to his or her car without a warrant. But Morin is on probation and the GPS monitoring was part of that.
Attorney David Yannetti, a former prosecutor, said, 'I think it would be very difficult for his attorney to try and suppress that evidence. The Probation Department is perfectly justified in monitoring where he is. In fact, they're required to do so. As a prosecutor, I'd be pretty pleased.'
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