FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
December 5, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THREE CHARLES COUNTY SUBDIVISION ARSON DEFENDANTS SENTENCED
GREENBELT, Maryland - United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein announces that today U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced three defendants in connection with the December 6, 2004 fire at the Hunters Brooke development in Indian Head, Charles County, Maryland as follows:
Patrick Walsh, age 21, of Ft. Washington, Maryland to 235 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release in connection with his conviction by a federal jury on September 2, 2005 of conspiracy to commit arson and 35 counts of arson;
Aaron Speed, age 22, of Waldorf, Maryland Maryland to 100 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release in connection with his guilty plea on June 23, 2005 to conspiracy to commit arson; and
Jeremy Parady, age 21, of Accokeek, Maryland, to 87 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release in connection with his guilty plea on April 28, 2005 to conspiracy to commit arson.
Judge Titus also ordered that each defendant pay restitution of $3,274,538.42.
The remaining two defendants, Roy Thomas McCann, age 23, and Michael McIntosh Everhart, age 21, both of Waldorf, Maryland, are scheduled for trial on February 21, 2006.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, "The defendants tried to destroy a community. They endangered the lives of nearby residents and firefighters, and they caused millions of dollars of property damage. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated law enforcement professionals, justice will be done: the victims will rebuild their homes while the perpetrators spend many years in federal prison."
According to the statements of facts presented to the court and trial testimony, beginning in the fall of 2004, Speed, Parady and Walsh conspired with others to commit arson at 35 houses under construction in the Hunter’s Brooke development. To carry out the scheme, the conspirators obtained flammable materials and poured the materials into containers. Some of the materials were placed on the premises during the time Speed worked at Hunter’s Brooke as the security guard on the night of December 3, 2005. Other items were placed onsite on the night of the fire. To conceal the flammable materials, the conspirators used common containers such as drywall buckets, detergent bottles and other large plastic containers.
On December 6, 2004, the conspirators poured other accelerants in the entrance ways and other areas of the houses located on those lots. Using flares, matches and propane torches, the conspirators then lit the flammable materials, causing a series of fires which resulted in the destruction of or damage to several houses in various stages of construction. None of the houses were occupied at the time of the fires.
Speed’s role during the arson was, among other things, to assist in stealing the ignitable liquids used to start the fire, provide transportation for those ignitable liquids to Hunter’s Brooke, advise other co-conspirators on how and when to gain access to the site and to contact the security guard on duty and encourage him to leave to allow unfettered access to Hunter’s Brooke. In addition, based on his knowledge gained as a security guard at Hunter’s Brooke, Speed provided a hand-drawn map of the subdivision and identified which house was occupied so that it would not be targeted during the arson. Speed supplied one of the propane torches used to start the fires, radios for communication and latex gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints. He personally participated in lighting the fires.
Parady’s role during the arson was, among other things, to drive one of the vehicles used to move from house to house to light the fires. Parady also recruited or attempted to recruit others to participate in the setting of the fires. In addition, he supplied some of the flares used to start the fires and obtained the flares from a local fire department where he was a volunteer. The plea agreement also provided for an increased sentence for obstruction of justice based upon Parady’s false testimony during a suppression hearing held in U.S. District Court on April 14, 2005.
According to evidence presented at trial Walsh was the leader, organizer or supervisor of at least five other individuals participating in the conspiracy. He met with Aaron Speed and Jeremy Parady to discuss carrying out the arson, provided expertise in flammable liquids and provided latex gloves, a propane torch and chemicals. He also provided the vehicle used by some of the conspirators to travel to Hunter’s Brooke, and he recruited others to participate. Walsh was present at Hunter’s Brooke to set the fires, along with other conspirators.
According to additional information presented at sentencing, during the search of Walsh’s jail cell on July 17, 2005, a large number of handwritten documents were recovered which detail Walsh’s plan to set up a new organization he called “the Unseen Brotherhood Coalition.” The plans included a membership hierarchy, a loyalty oath, a design for a membership badge and a stated mission of increasing the wealth of the organization’s members. There were numerous handwritten pages detailing methods for check kiting, counterfeiting, identity theft, pyramid schemes, investment scams, penny stock fraud, and fake fundraising schemes. The documents also included a handwritten letter under an assumed name soliciting money for a nonexistent environmental group.
United States Attorney Rosenstein thanked the arson task force which includes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal; and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Donna C. Sanger and Chan Park, who are prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedJanuary 30, 2006