NEW BEDFORD — A city woman, one of two people charged with setting a multi-family house on fire last month, was found to be a danger, but was not held without bail after a court hearing Thursday.
Rose Bowman, 33, of 596 County St. was found to be dangerous for the Sept. 28 arson fire at the six-family home at 314 N. Front St. by Judge Bernadette L. Sabra, according to records in New Bedford District Court. Bowman and co-defendant, Brad D. Westgate, 39, of 75 Chipaway Road, East Freetown, are both charged with arson. Westgate was found to be dangerous and is being held without bail for up to 120 days.
According to court documents, Bowman and Westgate are accused of setting the fire after they were ripped off $80 in two drug deals gone bad.
Sabra did not grant prosecutors' request to hold Bowman without bail and instead set bail at $1,000 cash, court records say. Bowman, however, did not make bail and is being held at the Bristol County House of Correction.
The judge also denied prosecutors' request to revoke Bowman's bail on an outstanding larceny charge, court records say.
Sabra said it may be that Westgate is "the primary focus" of the investigation, but she thought that Bowman "maybe was a willing sidekick" in finding her dangerous for the arson, according to a tape of the hearing. The judge also ordered her to stay away from 314 N. Front St. and remain drug and alcohol free.
The state has surveillance video of Westgate getting out of his truck with a container in his hand and walking to the tenement and then running away, a prosecutor said.
No one was injured in the fire, but the property at 314 N. Front St. suffered an estimated $200,000 in damage and an adjoining three-decker at 32 Tallman St. suffered about $30,000 in damage, according to court documents.
Bowman said she went to the house to buy drugs and she was robbed of her money and Westgate went there later and also had his money stolen from him, which enraged him, court documents said. She told police that Westgate returned to the house with a clear plastic container and went to the back of the house with it.
According to court documents, a witness spotted Westgate and Bowman leaving the back of 314 N. Front St.
Follow Curt Brown on Twitter @CurtBrown_SCT.