PORTLAND — Everett S. Stickney of Exeter, N.H., was sentenced in U.S. District Court Thursday to 11 1/2 years in prison for setting fires that destroyed 26 small businesses in Yarmouth and an office building in York.
He was also ordered to pay $3.7 million in restitution to the 27 displaced business owners and their 14 insurance companies.
Stickney pleaded guilty in June to two charges of arson and one charge of possession of a firearm by a felon. Judge D. Brock Hornby sentenced him to serve concurrent sentences of 11 1/2 years and 10 years.
Hornby noted that at 30 years old, Stickney has been charged with 14 crimes.
“It is not possible to overemphasize the seriousness and dangers of the crimes Mr. Stickney committed,” the judge said. “In Yarmouth in particular, there were over $3 million in damages and a detrimental impact to a number of businesses and the lives of more than 30 people who worked there.”
He said Stickney’s crimes “call out for significant, significant punishment.”
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark, Stickney’s crimes were serious, and caused many people significant hardship.
“The trauma suffered by the victims is greater than the property loss,” Clark said.
Stickney said he understood the consequences of his actions and was sorry for his actions. He said he was using narcotics at the time of his arrest and mental illness and drug addictions were partly to blame for his behavior.
Stickney started the fire at 500 Route 1 in Yarmouth on Jan. 2 at about 8:40 p.m. Damage was estimated at about $3.5 million. In addition, more than $1 million was lost in uninsured costs.
The next day, a medical office less than a mile away at 60 Forest Falls Drive was broken into, and there were burglaries in Kennebunk at Wonderbrook Business Center, followed by an attempted burglary in York at a storage facility. Stickney set another fire at 433 Route 1 in York at the Cottage Place Business Complex and burglarized two offices. Later, another York commercial business, the Meadow Brook Offices, was burglarized.
“I understand now the devastating impact to my family and the victims,” Stickney said. “I have destroyed their hopes and dreams and put people out of work during this recession.”
Stickney’s attorney, Carol Sipperly, asked that Stickney be designated to federal correctional facilities in Butner, N.C., or Springfield, Mo., where treatment for mental illness and drug addiction is possible.
Yarmouth Police Chief Michael Morrill said the sentence provides closure to the people involved in the case. He said he was surprised the business owners did not appear in court, but said most residents sent letters to the judge expressing their feelings.
“This has caused a lot of devastation in many ways,” Morrill said. “Yarmouth lost 26 small businesses and some have not yet relocated. We hope some return to town.”
Yarmouth police Officer Paul Martin said several agencies worked together on the successful investigation, including the Yarmouth, Kennebunk and York police departments; federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; state marshal’s office, and the Arizona Bureau of ATF, which provided DNA samples from Stickney’s father.
“We all worked together as a team from the beginning,” Martin said.
Stickney still faces state charges for burglary and theft in New Hampshire.