East Wareham man charged with attempted murder in connection with house fire

Apr 6, 2018

An East Wareham man has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly attacked a woman with a hammer, doused her with fluid, then burned down the home both had been inside, according to prosecutors.

Mondel Johnson, 40, of 18 Barker Road, was arrested in Fall River on April 5 by Wareham Police detectives, Massachusetts State Police and police officers from the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Fall River and New Bedford.

On April 6, he was arraigned in Wareham District Court and held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. That hearing is scheduled for April 11, said Plymouth County District Attorney spokeswoman Beth Stone. The dangerousness hearing will determine whether or not the defendant poses a “substantial risk” of committing a felony using force.

Johnson is accused of setting a fire that destroyed the home at 36 Restful Lane early on March 29. According to court documents, Johnson and the woman, who police did not identify, entered the home a few hours after midnight to use drugs. The home, which had been condemned weeks earlier due to storm damage, was unoccupied.

Prosecutors said the woman asked Johnson to use his cell phone for light, but he refused. He then allegedly attacked her with a hammer, doused her with what she believed to be cooking oil, kicked her until she was unconscious and then set the house on fire.

"(The victim) stated the male began lighting pieces of newspaper and began throwing them at her," court documents stated.

Prosecutors said the woman ran out of the house after waking up and sought help. The victim was then taken to Tobey Hospital for treatment and released. For several hours after the fire, authorities were unsure of the woman's whereabouts and searched the charred remains of the house.

According to neighbors, the address had a reputation as a "drug house." Elias Broufas, who lives directly across the street, noted the house was rundown and had broken windows and trash strewn about. Since moving in almost a year ago, he said that there have been multiple overdoses reported at the proprty and illegal activity.

Johnson was charged with: attempted murder, arson of a dwelling (house) and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Wareham Police expressed appreciation for the cooperation of the multiple police agencies as well as the Wareham Fire Department.