Jonathan White of Southampton sent to prison after admitting trying to blow up rental home
NORTHAMPTON — A Southampton man Tuesday admitted trying to blow up the house he was renting using a gas leak and a microwave oven in July 2011.
Jonathan White, 52, of 3 East St., pleaded guilty before Hampshire Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup to one count of attempted arson of a dwelling house.
Rup sentenced him to 2 to 4 years in state prison. He will receive credit for 470 days of time already served while awaiting trial.
White admitted that on July 30, 2011, he tampered with the gas lines in his home and placed an aerosol can of flammable liquid inside a microwave oven. White set a timing device on the microwave so it would activate at a predetermined time, blow up the aerosol can and presumably ignite the gas that had been filling the house, destroying it.
According to information presented in court, after setting the improvised bomb, White asked a neighbor for a ride to the bus station in Springfield and asked her to watch his laptop computer for him.
When she asked why, White told her there was valuable material on the laptop and he didn’t want to leave it in the house.
“You will understand why later,” he told her.
Neighbors noticed a strong smell of gas in the area, prompting calls to police to investigate. Police and firefighters arrived and discovered White’s work before it could ignite.
White was placed under arrest in Gloucester later that same day by that city’s police department.
White will serve his sentence at the Cedar Junction Correction Institution in Walpole.