Serial Arsonist Pleads Guilty to Setting 9 Fires at Springhill Lake Apartments
Fires Caused Over $2 Million in Damages
Greenbelt, Maryland - Jeremiah Christopher Jones, age 26, of Greenbelt, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to nine counts of arson at the Springhill Lake apartment complex, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“Jeremiah Christopher Jones used fire as a weapon to terrorize a community, endanger the lives of residents and firefighters and cause millions of dollars in property damage,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “I am grateful to the local, state and federal agencies that committed the time and resources that were required to catch Jeremiah Christopher Jones and protect the community.”
“The level of cooperation between all of the agencies involved in this investigation was outstanding,” said Maryland State Fire Marshal William Barnard.
According to the plea agreement, during the six-month period between March 25, 2007 and August 2, 2007, Jones intentionally set nine fires within the Springhill Lake complex in Greenbelt, resulting in over $2 million in damages. Jones used a lighter to set fire to items, including clothes, in concealed spaces because the confined spaces were close to other materials such as wiring, which would continue to burn after he had set the fire. In addition, Jones admitted that over the past three years he also set fire to at least three vehicles, a motorcycle, three dumpsters, a trash container and some bushes.
Jones faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the nine counts. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for December 8, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Prince Georges County Fire/EMS Department – Bureau of Fire Investigations; Maryland State Fire Marshals Office; Greenbelt City Police Department; and the Hyattsville City Police Department for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys James A. Crowell IV and James M. Trusty, who are prosecuting the case.