Brockton Arsonist Serving Life Sentence Denied Parole
BROCKTON — A woman who killed a young mother and injured several others after setting fire to a multi-family home in Brockton in 2006 has been denied parole.
According to the parole board's written decision, Chiteara Thomas was 22 years old when she took a cigarette lighter to a curtain on the first floor of a three-story apartment building on Montello Street in Brockton early in the morning on July 6, 2006.
The blaze killed a 28-year-old mother of four and injured some of the 13 residents in the building, forcing those on the second floor to throw their three children out of a window before jumping out themselves.
Olinda Calderon's youngest child was just one month old when Calderon died as a result of injuries sustained in the fire, according to the board document. The infant survived.
Following her conviction on second degree murder charges, Thomas was sentenced to life in prison, although she was allowed the possibility of parole after a second jury trial in 2016.
Now 37, Thomas told the state's parole board that she is making a "complete turnaround" in her behavior, after her initial adjustment in prison was described in board documents as "highly problematic," involving several physical altercations.
She described being in an abusive relationship at the time of the fire and using multiple substances daily, including alcohol, marijuana, crack, and sometimes Klonopin.
According to the board's written decision, Thomas said she did not intend to hurt or kill anyone, but she had been fighting with the first floor resident and blacked out during much of the incident.
After remaining sober throughout her incarceration, Thomas obtained a GED in 2009 and is now pursuing a bachelor's degree at Boston University, the document noted.
But earlier this month the parole board decided against granting Thomas parole, citing a belief that she "needs a longer period of positive adjustment."
"Chiteara Thomas has not demonstrated a level of rehabilitative progress that would make her release compatible with the welfare of society," the board opined in its March 9 decision.
Thomas will go back before the board for another review in July 2023.