Man gets two weeks in jail for ar­son

En­tered Al­ford plea to set­ting house ablaze with fam­ily in­side

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CERONE WHITE cwhite@somd­news.com

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.

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