A man from Edgewood, Maryland, is facing several criminal charges after allegedly assaulting a homeless man and starting a fire. The 20-year-old defendant was arrested on Feb. 18 on suspicion of weapons charges, arson and assault after allegedly burning down a homeless structure that had been erected by two men behind a church. That church was less than a mile from the defendant’s home.
The defendant has officially been charged with first- and second-degree arson, possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, and first- and second-degree assault. Three counts of arson were also added to that list. The defendant remains in the Harford County Detention Center after failing to post a $250,000 bond.
Authorities say that the defendant ignited the makeshift homeless structure, made of boxes and plastic, behind the church on the evening of Feb. 11. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the one-alarm fire, which destroyed the structure entirely. Two men had been living in separate encampments behind the church. The defendant is accused of holding one victim at gunpoint as he set the other’s structure ablaze. He then threatened the victim before fleeing. Authorities say that no one was injured in the encounter.
Criminal defendants do not have to actually discharge their firearms to face weapons charges. In this situation, the man is accused of using the gun while committing another crime and even showing a threat of violence. Criminal penalties for crimes involving weapons may be far more serious than the consequences for those that did not involve firearms.
Defendants do not have to face the criminal court alone. A Maryland criminal defense attorney may be able to provide assistance that will allow defendants to learn more about their legal rights. These lawyers may educate their clients so they can make informed decisions about their legal cases.
Source: BelAir Patch, “Edgewood Man Charged in Arson, Assault on Homeless Man” Elizabeth Janney, Feb. 18, 2014