A Payette man and former firefighter who used firebombs to distract law enforcement and steal firearms from a pawnshop in Fruitland has been sentenced to 37 years in prison.
Donovan James Bolen, 23, had 14 criminal convictions dating back to the age of 10 when he used Molotov cocktails to burn a U.S. Department of Agriculture pickup and a four-wheel ATV, as well as a building belonging to Western Core Door Inc.. in Payette on May 27, 2011. Bolen then stole 12 guns from the World's Largest Pawnshop, including rifles, revolvers and pistols.
Firefighters spent 16 hours battling the blaze at the lumber company. Heat from the fire melted siding on nearby residences but did not destroy the homes. No injuries were reported.
Bolen's co-defendant, David Joseph Von Bargen, 50, of Fruitland, is scheduled for a hearing before U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill on March 25 to determine if he's competent to stand trial.
A jury convicted Bolen on Oct. 16 after a five-day trial in U.S. District Court in Downtown Boise. Winmill sentenced him Tuesday to 444 months in prison for carrying and using explosive devises during and in relation to a federal crime of violence; conspiracy to maliciously use explosive materials; conspiracy to maliciously damage federal property; and theft of firearms.
Bolen also to pay $162,124.87 in restitution to Western Core Door, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Bolens conduct merited a lengthy sentence, U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson said in a prepared statement. His use of Molotov cocktails to divert the attention of law enforcement was unconscionable, endangered the lives of first responders, and destroyed the property of innocent victims."
Bolen, who has two children ages 2 and 4, spent much of his childhood in foster homes and the juvenile justice system, according to court documents prepared by his lawyer, David Heida of Kuna.
He was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and raised by a single mother. He completed his general education diploma through a job corps program and became a certified firefighter in 2008. He worked for the Bureau of Land Management and enrolled in online college through Ashford University, according to court documents.
Heida unsuccessfully called for Bolen to be sentenced to 35 years - the least amount of time available under federal sentencing guidelines.
"Any sentence that places a young man in his early twenties in a federal penitentiary until his late fifties, even if below guideline range, is clearly 'adequate deterrence to criminal conduct,'" Heida wrote.