Man gets two weeks in jail for arson
Entered Alford plea to setting house ablaze with family inside
A Waldorf man who was originally charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, reckless endangerment, first-degree arson and second-degree assault in December was sentenced to 14 days in prison Tuesday in a Charles County Circuit Court.
Eric Scott White, 40, was sentenced to 18 months all but 14 days suspended. Following his release from prison, White will serve an additional five years of supervised probation, under the plea agreement White entered in June. He entered an Alford plea to second-degree malicious burning. An Alford plea does not admit guilt, but agrees the prosecution may have enough evidence to garner a conviction if the case were to go to trial.
On Dec. 15, 2016, around 6:57 a.m., firefighters with the Waldorf
Volunteer Fire Department and other emergency personnel answered a fire alarm that took place in a two-story house located in the 6700 block of Coati Court. After residents heard noise coming
from the first floor, they were able to escape unharmed, authorities reported. Fire marshals estimated that more than $35,000 worth of damage was caused by the fire.
According to court records,
it was believed that White started the fire intentionally following a domestic dispute. His family was inside the home when the fire was set.
White’s attorney, William Olmsted, argued that over the past month his client has begun turning his life around and that he is currently taking anger management classes and is in marriage counseling with his wife.
Clad in a blue dress shirt, White sat in the defendant’s chair as his wife was called to make a statement to the court as to why the
court should be lenient in sentencing him for the crime he committed.
“Eric is a caregiver … and our relationship is better, we are working on those issues that brought us here,” she said. “We go to church for family counseling.”
The defendant’s wife cried as she continued to address the court.
“I want him around for the sake of the kids, I can’t say anything negative about him being a parent and we are committed to each other.”
The charges were first brought three weeks after he was found at his parents’ home in Hickory, N.C., where he was subsequently arrested by the U.S. Marshals fugitive task force and members of the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Before sentencing, White addressed the court and said he was sorry for his actions and that all of this was his own doing in putting him and his family in this position.
“I can guarantee you that nothing like this will ever happen again,” he told the court.