Nashua arsonist denied early release

Staff file photo Arthur Perrault enters Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua in March 2016, for a hearing at which he was sentenced to 4-10 years in State Prison for starting a fire that heavily damaged a Nashua apartment building in 2015.

NASHUA – Despite pointing out in his petition to suspend the remainder of his prison sentence that he completed “several self-help programs” while behind bars, convicted arsonist Arthur Perrault saw his request denied – possibly because his prison record includes an accusation he committed arson by leaving a “hot pot” unattended.

Perrault, 55, of Seven Hildreth Dr. in Litchfield, was sentenced in March 2016 to four to 10 years in State Prison on the charge of arson, a Class A felony that accused him of setting on fire a large Nashua apartment building in which his ex-girlfriend lived.

The building, at 30 Canal St., was heavily damaged in the May 17, 2015 blaze, which led occupants of other units to flee, but caused no injuries.

Charging documents state that Perrault soaked the woman’s apartment with lighter fluid and set it ablaze in the midst of a jealous rage, which was triggered by his belief that his former girlfriend was having an affair with her cousin’s boyfriend.

He reportedly assaulted the woman at another Nashua residence, then drove to the Canal Street apartment and set the fire. He was arrested several hours later.

File photo Nashua firefighters work at the scene of the fire that heavily damaged a Canal Street apartment building in May 2015. Arthur Perrault, who was charged with setting the fire and sent to prison, has been denied his request for early release.

Perrault was initially charged with two counts of felony arson and one count of Class A misdemeanor-level arson, but the misdemeanor and one of the felonies were later dropped.

He was sentenced on the remaining arson charge to the State Prison term of four to 10 years. His earliest release date is March 15, while the maximum is May 12, 2025.

State legislation allows non-violent offenders to file a motion to suspend the remainder of their sentence after they have served at least two-thirds of their minimum sentence.

In Perrault’s case, he became eligible in November, but he “waited an extra six months so he was able to complete programs he was on the waiting list to do,” he stated in his handwritten petition.

But after reviewing the petition and the state’s response after a hearing, Superior Court Judge Charles Temple denied Perrault’s request.

As for Perrault’s prison disciplinary record, the arson accusation is one of just two violations listed by prison officials.

He was first cited for an “unexcused absence from work or place of assignment” violation in October 2015, then with the arson charge in July 2016.

Officials said that “after conducting a unit investigation, it was found that an altered hot pot (a small, coffee pot-like cooking appliance) belonging to Mr. Perrault was left unattended and caused a fire in the RTU,” a reference to the residential treatment unit.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, or @Telegraph_DeanS.