Leominster Woman Held Without Bail on Arson, B&E Charges
By Amanda Burke
LEOMINSTER -- Despite having no criminal history, the city woman accused of setting fire to her neighbor’s home on Dec. 18 was ordered held without bail following a dangerousness hearing on Thursday.
Linda A. Sbrogna, 54, will be held in a correctional facility in Chicopee until a status hearing on Feb. 8.
She is charged with arson of a dwelling and felony daytime breaking and entering.
Prosecutors say that Sbrogna admitted to breaking into the 51 Douglas Ave. home of Rosemary Allen and her fiancee Paul Legere on Dec. 18 and holding a lighter to the carpeting until the fibers caught fire.
She was arrested hours after firefighters extinguished the blaze and has been held in custody since her Dec. 19 arraignment. It was the third fire a the Douglas Avenue home since the beginning of December.
On Dec. 7, Allen and Legere were forced to move out of their Douglas Avenue residence when a futon caught fire in their living room, Allen said.
The homeowners removed from the home the items that were damaged in the first fir. Just over a week later, at about 1:20 a.m., those items caught fire and cause “heavy damage to the residence,” said Assistant District Attorney Joseph Simmons said at Thursday’s hearing.
Simmons argued that Sbrogna should be deemed dangerous and that no conditions of pretrial release that could ensure the public’s safety.
The claim that Sbrogna was dangerous was not disputed by defense attorney Kristen Jay Patria.
However, Patria argued that Sbrogna should be released on house arrest with an order to wear a GPS monitoring device, a request that Worcester Judge David Locke ultimately denied.
On disability for the past six years, Sbrogna “has a rare non-curable and acute condition related to her stomach,” said Patria.
The medical condition, which Patria characterized as “very serious,” requires Sbrogna consume a strict diet and medication.
Sbrogna has not been receiving the “nutrition she requires” or her medication while being held in the correctional facility, said Patria.
Sbrogna previously worked as a certified nursing aid, her attorney said. Her husband, daughter and son-in-law were seated in the court room during the hearing, when Sbrogna sat in a chair before the judge wearing shackles around her wrists and ankles.
Outlining the facts of the case before in District Court Thursday, Simmons said a dispute over the boundary between Sbrogna’s property and that of Allen and Legere has been ongoing for a few years.
After the hearing, Allen said that while she empathizes with Sbrogna’s medical condition she agreed with Locke’s ruling because her neighbor subjected her to “constant terror.”
“I’m sorry that she is not getting the care that she needed but she tortured my life for four or five years,” said Allen. “Nobody protected herself from herself.”