Dorchester Man Pleads Guilty to Arson in Back Bay
Jose Baez, 40, of Dorchester, pleaded guilty to four counts of arson in federal court on Tuesday. His fire-setting spree spanned JP, Cambridge, Back Bay and Roslindale.
A Dorchester man admitted his guilt in four arsons Tuesday— including one that torched a Bay Bay brownstone in 2009.
Jose L. Baez, 40, pleaded guilty in federal court. Prosecutors said if the case had gone to trial, they'd have proven that Baez engaged in a spree of arsons from 2008 to 2010 that spanned JP, Cambridge, Back Bay and Roslindale.
Here's how prosecutors say Baez committed the crimes.
He set fire to JP Auto Body, at 12-18 Rock Hill Road, early on April 29, 2009. He used gasoline, tires and old clothes to spark flames in three separate places.
Baez used gasoline and a 30-foot wick made out of old clothes to torch the Whole Foods Market on Alewife Brook Parkway in Cambridge early on Dec. 26, 2008.
He set fire to a Back Bay brownstone early on July 31, 2009 using gasoline, starting the fire in the front vestibule.
In the case for which he stands to serve the most time, he torched a three-family home at 11 Firth Road in Roslindale.
Prosecutors said Baez had links with each location — these weren't random targets. He'd been an employee at the Whole Foods, where he'd quit after a dispute with management. He was a customer of both JP Auto Body as well as a dentist whose practice was in the Back Bay brownstone. And prosecutors said he knew three of the people living at the Roslindale house.
Sentencing is scheduled for November, prosecutors said. Baez faces a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years and up to 40 years in prison on the Roslindale fire, to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. He faces a minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the remaining three counts, prosecutors said.
As the JP Gazette reports, JP saw a string of arsons from 2005 to 2009. No one has been charged, the Gazette reports, in three of the arsons.