A former police chief in Maryland was sentenced on Tuesday to a number of life sentences for setting fires to the homes, garages and vehicles of people that prosecutors mentioned he felt had slighted him.
Choose Richard S. Bernhardt of Howard County Circuit Courtroom sentenced David M. Crawford, 71, a former chief of the Laurel Police Division, to eight life sentences plus 75 years in jail, in accordance with the Howard County state’s legal professional’s workplace.
A number of of the phrases are to run concurrently, however the sentence that can preserve Mr. Crawford off the streets for the remainder of his life, Richard H. Gibson Jr., the state’s legal professional, mentioned.
“He was a regulation enforcement official,” Mr. Gibson mentioned. “He ought to have been somebody who understood justice, empathy and order. As a substitute, he acted in a violent method.”
Mr. Crawford was arrested in 2021 in reference to a dozen arsons throughout six counties from 2011 to 2020.
A Howard County jury convicted Mr. Crawford in March on eight counts of tried first-degree homicide, three counts of first-degree arson and one depend of malicious burning in reference to 4 fires that have been set in 2017 and 2018. Not one of the victims died.
Victims of the Howard County fires embody Mr. Crawford’s chiropractor; an acquaintance of his spouse’s via a foster care group referred to as Voices for Youngsters; and one other individual he knew via a mother and father’ rights group, Mr. Gibson mentioned.
Mr. Crawford had already pleaded responsible to arson in Frederick County, the place he was sentenced to twenty years in jail, according to The Baltimore Sun. Circumstances in opposition to Mr. Crawford in Montgomery and Prince George Counties are pending.
The varied fires had comparable patterns, prosecutors mentioned. The arsonist was seen on surveillance video in a sweatshirt with a hood hiding his face. He poured gasoline from gallon jugs and used a stick wrapped in fabric. A silver sedan was generally noticed close to the crime scenes.
In January 2021, the police executed a search warrant at Mr. Crawford’s house. Investigators reviewed his web search historical past and located a “goal listing” on his telephone, which named the identified victims, in accordance with the authorities.
Mr. Crawford had labored in regulation enforcement for years. He was police chief in Laurel from 2006 till his resignation in 2010. Earlier than that he was chief of the District Heights Police Division, and earlier he was a significant with the Prince George’s County Police Division.
Mr. Crawford’s lawyer, Robert C. Bonsib, mentioned on Tuesday that his consumer nonetheless maintained his innocence and deliberate to file an enchantment quickly.
“It is a unhappy and unlucky ending for a person who for many years had nicely served his neighborhood in regulation enforcement,” Mr. Bonsib mentioned in an e mail.