The man who admitted to setting the May 2010 blaze that leveled the vacant Whitehouse Flea Market building on State Street was sentenced Thursday to four to 12 years in state prison.
The sentence gives the state Department of Corrections and Community Service wide latitude in determining when he is ready to be released under parole supervision, prosecutor John Healy said.
Nathan A. Perkins, 20, admitted in court in February to setting the flea market fire. In all, he was accused of setting five separate fires in unoccupied structures. No one was hurt.
The sentence took into account multiple factors, including the outcome of the fires and Perkins’ mental health.
Questions about his condition prompted a psychiatric evaluation, Healy has said, but he ultimately was found to know right from wrong.
Perkins told authorities he never intended physical harm, but he realized that his actions put firefighters at risk.
He seemed to choose structures that were vacant and set fires that would be quickly discovered, Healy has said.
Perkins was accused of setting five fires, the most recent on May 24, 2013, at a vacant Mumford Street building.
It was after the final fire that investigators began to look at Perkins as a suspect. Officials said he was a frequent visitor at fire scenes, sometimes arriving very quickly. They built their case with evidence from the county network of street surveillance cameras and arrested him in September.
Perkins made admissions about starting the fires. Investigators also tested him by asking if he’d set a previous fire at the flea market that they knew he hadn’t set. He denied involvement.
He also had information on the fires that only the arsonist would have known, Healy has said.
Perkins was represented by attorney Sven Paul, who could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Perkins was sentenced by Judge Richard Giardino.