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Woman who was found guilty of setting fatal Brockton fire at 3 story residence to be released on parole with conditions



A Plymouth County woman previously convicted for setting a fire that turned fatal is set to be paroled.

According to the Massachusetts Parole Board, on March 1, 2010, after a jury trial in Plymouth Superior Court, Chiteara Thomas was convicted of murder in the first degree, arson of a dwelling house, and 13 counts of attempted murder. On March 10, 2010, Thomas was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder conviction and concurrent sentences of 10-15 years on the remaining convictions. Thomas’ convictions on all charges, except arson of a dwelling house, were vacated by order of the Supreme Judicial Court in 2015. On May 13, 2016, after a second jury trial, Thomas was convicted of murder in the second degree and acquitted on each of the attempted murder charges. The arson of a dwelling house conviction was judicially vacated as duplicative. Thomas was subsequently sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

In the early morning hours of July 6, 2006, Thomas used a cigarette lighter to set fire to a curtain in the first-floor apartment of a three-story multi-family home on Montello Street in Brockton. The fire spread quickly throughout the home, soon reaching the second and third floors. Numerous residents were home at the time. The residents of the first and second floors were able to escape from the blaze. The second-floor residents threw their children out the window into the arms of good Samaritans waiting below and then jumped themselves, sustaining injuries. Firefighters conducted a rescue of the third-floor occupants. One of the third-floor residents, Olinda Calderon, died from injuries sustained in the fire, shortly after removal from the building. Calderon’s one-month-old baby and two other third-floor residents survived.

In a statement released this week, the Board concluded by unanimous vote that Thomas is a suitable candidate for parole.

In forming this opinion, the Board has taken into consideration Thomas’ institutional behavior, as well as her participation in available work, educational, and treatment programs during the period of her incarceration. The Board has also considered a risk and needs assessment and whether risk reduction programs could effectively minimize Thomas’ risk of recidivism. After applying this standard to the circumstances of Thomas’ case, the Board is of the opinion that Thomas is rehabilitated and, therefore, merits parole at this time, subject to special conditions.

Thomas has completed over 30 programs, according to the Board, including a victim impact program. She earned her bachelor’s degree, has low LS/CMI score, and has strong family and community support. She has maintained her sobriety for 17 years. Thomas presented with remorse and empathy. The Board considered testimony of parents and two state representatives. The Board also considered testimony of the victim’s niece and an Assistant District Attorney, who spoke in opposition. The Board considered a step down, but due to strong community supports, Thomas will have re-entry supports.

The special conditions of Thomas’ parole include: reserve to New Beginnings program once on parole; must be at home between 10PM & 6AM or at Parole Officer’s discretion; electronic monitoring at Parole Officer’s discretion; must take prescribed medication; supervised for drugs, testing in accordance with agency policy; supervise for liquor abstinence, testing in accordance with agency policy; report to assigned MA Parole Office on day of release; no contact with victim’s family; must have substance abuse evaluation and must comply with recommended treatment plan; counseling for transitional purposes; residential program: Sober House.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Fed Up

    November 9, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    These people on the parole board have lost the f*cking minds! Someone who intentionally set fire to a home that resulted in a death is let out after just 17 years! Absolutely disgusting. They had to drop little children out the window to safety for God’s sake. I swear they just release people to tout their stupid programs as a ‘ success story ” This state is out of their minds

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