Man Who Set Fire to 'Vote Biden Harris 2020' Hay Bales Held Without Bail for 'Hostility' Against the Public

A man accused of setting fire to a hay bale display in support of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden has been held without bail due to his "hostility against the public at large."

Lonnie Durfee, 49, is said to have burned the hay bale display opposite the Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton, Massachusetts on October 10. The plastic-wrapped bales were painted on and arranged to read: "USA Vote Biden Harris 2020."

According to 7 News Boston, Durfee was arraigned at Central Berkshire District Court on a charge of burning personal property. He was ordered held without bail after prosecutors argued that he posed a threat to the local community.

"Mr. Durfee's record shows that he has engaged in a pattern of domestic violence, including strangulation, a strong indicator of potential lethality," District Attorney Andrea Harrington said. Mr. Durfee's recent arson allegations are particularly concerning in light of his violent history because he is escalating his hostility against the public at large."

The Berkshire District Attorney's Office said: "Our number one job is to protect the public. This ruling keeps a dangerous person from potentially causing additional harm to members of our community," Fox News 8 reported.

Reports suggested that Durfee had also been accused of burning his neighbor's front lawn sign endorsing the Democratic presidential ticket.

Dicken Crane, the farm's owner, told The Berkshire Eagle that the cost of the fire was some $2,000. Crane spoke with Durfee by phone while the latter was in custody having turned himself in after the incident.

"He started to tell me about how he was getting sober, but had lost his son and wasn't able to pull himself back from the loss and grief that came from that," Crane told the Eagle.

Durfee's son—Jacob, 23—died in a motorcycle accident in August.

"He was beyond apologetic. He was remorseful. He said: 'I really don't know why I did it and I want to pay you back,'" Crane explained.

"If it weren't for the whole media storm of this and the political climate...it wouldn't have been that big a deal," Crane said.

Crane has since rebuilt the display with a new message: "Love, Unity, Respect," adorned with a painted American flag, globe, and the word "Vote."

Crane said he first assumed that the fire was a sign of the polarized American landscape. "When I saw it ablaze, my mind went immediately to this being domestic terrorism, that's what it felt like," he told the Eagle.

But his conversation with Durfee changed his view. "Oh, this is not what I was thinking," he said. "This was not the person I had in my mind."

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, 2020 election, arson
A Joe Biden-Kamala Harris presidential campaign sign is staked on the front lawn of a residential house October 9, in Throop, Pennsylvania. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images/Getty