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Three Arrested in Md. Fire Investigation

Sun Dec 19, 2:53 AM ET U.S. National - AP


By STEPHEN MANNING, Associated Press Writer

LA PLATA, Md. - Three more people, including at least one volunteer firefighter, have been arrested in connection with the largest residential arson in Maryland history, a collection of blazes that caused $10 million in damage to houses in an upscale development.


AP Photo
Slideshow: Security Guard Charged in Md. House Fires



Related Links
• Complaint: U.S. v. Aaron Lee Speed (FindLaw)


Authorities would not immediately discuss a possible motive in the Dec. 6 fires at the Hunters Brooke development, where many homes were still under construction. The three men, all age 20, were arrested Saturday.

The U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore identified them as Patrick Stephen Walsh, of Fort Washington; Jeremy Daniel Parady, of Accokeek; and Michael McIntosh Everhart, of Waldorf. Authorities said they have been charged with arson and are scheduled to appear in federal court Monday.

Charges have already been filed against Aaron Speed, 21, a security guard who told authorities he was upset by the way he had been treated by his employer.

The fires destroyed 10 houses and damaged 16 others. They broke out almost simultaneously over a 10-acre site, leading police to believe more than one person was involved.

One of the suspects arrested Saturday, Jeremy Parady, was listed on the Web site for the Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department as a "riding member."

Wayne Jordan, president of the fire department, acknowledged one of his members was arrested in the case but declined to say if it was Parady.

Jordan said the arrested firefighter was a probationary member of the department and has been suspended. He declined to say whether the man was one of the firefighters who helped battle the blazes at the development. The department has about 50 active members.

Mary Black, Parady's fiancee, told The Washington Post in Sunday editions that he was home with her from 2 a.m. until nearly 8 a.m. on Dec. 6. She also said he was not on duty the morning of the blaze and he was not among those called to the scene.

The chief of the department, Jeff Cox, declined to comment Saturday.

Few details were known about the other suspects. A man who answered the phone at Walsh's home and identified himself as Walsh's father said only: "We're 100 percent sure that he is innocent."

A former neighbor of Everhart, Scott Ackerman, said Everhart spent a lot of time working with friends on a car outside his house. "He's just a typical young kid, playing music and working on the car," he said.

Speed, who worked at the development for Security Services of America, has told investigators he was upset his employer did not show enough sympathy after his infant son died this year, according to court documents.

Speed told investigators that his son, one of twins, died in April, when he was about three months old. His wife's stepfather said the baby, Christian, died of intestinal complications.

Speed came under suspicion after allegedly failing a polygraph and telling investigators he was home in bed when a colleague phoned to tell him of the fires, although phone records showed the call went through a cell phone tower closer to the scene, according to court documents.

Initially, there was speculation the fires were set by environmental extremists because some environmental groups had complained the houses threatened a nearby bog. But no evidence has been found to support that theory, police said.

Security Services of America has said only that it is cooperating with authorities. The security firm is based in North Carolina and has operations in more than 20 states.
___

Associated Press writers Foster Klug and Brian Witte in Baltimore contributed to this story.
 

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:BM: For years I have been stressing the need for complete backround check and physcological profiles to be done on ALL fire and EMS personal , like is done for the police. Firefighter arson is a parasite on all our backs. It breaks the trust of the public and puts us all to shame. I hate it when these small departments claim they cant afford it but they go out and buy a $750,000 parade truck. :evil:
 

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Re: re: Volunteer firefighter arrested in arson

In MA any person that may have direct or indirect contact with children and/or seniors is required to have a CORI done and on file...many towns do not do this...and that's a problem...we just started doing it in my town because as chair of the COA I have to sign that if I get a state grant, I'll keep CORI's on volunteers...

stm4710 said:
:BM: For years I have been stressing the need for complete backround check and physcological profiles to be done on ALL fire and EMS personal , like is done for the police. Firefighter arson is a parasite on all our backs. It breaks the trust of the public and puts us all to shame. I hate it when these small departments claim they cant afford it but they go out and buy a $750,000 parade truck. :evil:
 

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I have had a CORI done to join my dept. Thing is the CORI only looks at what has been entered into the computer...... I could be a total whack job arsonist or chester the molester and have not been caught, therefore it wouldnt show on a CORI. This is why we need physcological profiles and asking refrences ........not just the CORI.
 

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Re: re: Volunteer firefighter arrested in arson

Gotcha...but I guess then we open up the world to what might be the potential intentions of an individual ala "precrime"...you psyche profile says you might do X, so we are going to assume that you will, so no job for you. Then what happens when the person sues for discrimination based on a test...that isn't really reliable in the first place.
As well the HIPPA implications of allowing medical record access to a POTENTIAL employer is a bit tough...what would be next? We only want to hire people that are not genetically predisposed to cancer...so we can save money on our insurance?
As to references, everyone everywhere always gives their "best 4"...to that end, should we do BC's on the references?
End all for me is if they haven't been "caught" for it..the liberties lost in trying to catch them before they do it or to "screen them out"...are too great.

stm4710 said:
I have had a CORI done to join my dept. Thing is the CORI only looks at what has been entered into the computer...... I could be a total whack job arsonist or chester the molester and have not been caught, therefore it wouldnt show on a CORI. This is why we need physcological profiles and asking refrences ........not just the CORI.
 

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Im not saying draw the guys DNA or saying..... you look like a fuzz ball wierdo get out of here.
But if this person come to the interview and his first question is........"when do I get my light permit"..........or already has a million dollars worth of lights to " keep motivated" ..........his application should probally find its way to the rubbermaid rolodex quickly IMO.

A good reason for CORI and common sense is this:

We had someone try to join our department over the summer. He started out OK, seemed motivated , we showed him our trucks and such and he went through the process. He came down by appointment, filled out the app. Our captain gave him the oral interview, told him what the department was about etc etc.

When cap told him he would need to get a MA license (had one from a nearby state) he came up with a story that he couldnt get one cause "he had some trouble in MA"......red flag one.

When it came time to fill out and sign for his CORI form he started getting real fidgety about it......red flag two.

When cap explained in plain english the standerd: "If something "major" (ie: we are not worried about a parking ticket in the 70's. as an example) comes back you will automaticly be denied and if you are wanted the infomation you supplied will be given to the police. Will we find anything?" he wanted to know why we were doing this to him ..........red flag three.

He wouldnt fill out the CORI form...... he went to his car and brought in a long print out from the another states RMV of traffic offenses saying we didnt have to do the CORI now, this was proof enough and seemed rather nervous..........red flag four.

Anywho his CORI was run cause he eventally agreed. He was denied, cap wouldt go into details but he said......."he wasnt kidding when he said he had some trouble in MA", nothing active though. :evil:

Anywho, I have seen this guy lurking at around at calls we go on, he comes up and tries to get behind the fire line.......what a goon .

And for the curious..........he did have lights on his car. :roll:
 

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Race Explored as Possible Motive in Maryland Arson
Investigators Also Look at Possibility of Revenge
By STEPHEN MANNING, AP


Indian Head, Md. (Dec. 19) - Racial animosity and revenge are among the possible motives in the fires that caused $10 million in damage in Maryland's largest residential arson case, a spokesman for federal investigators said Sunday.

Four men have been charged with arson at the Hunters Brooke development in Indian Head, where fires on Dec. 6 destroyed 10 houses and damaged 16 others. No one was hurt; many of the homes were still under construction.

A federal law enforcement official speaking on the condition of anonymity said two of the four suspects in custody allegedly made racial statements to investigators during questioning.

The suspects are white, and many of the families moving into the development are black.

The federal official also said that one of the suspects, Jeremy Daniel Parady, was turned down when he tried to get a job with Lennar Corp., the company building the houses about 30 miles south of Washington.

Another suspect, Aaron Speed, told investigators he was upset his employer did not show enough sympathy after his infant son died this year, according to court documents.

Michael Campbell, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said investigators are considering revenge and race, along with several other possible motives.

"Two typical motives for arson are revenge and race," Campbell said. "It's something investigators are looking at."

None of the suspects has been charged with a hate crime.

On Saturday, officials arrested three of the men - Parady, Patrick Stephen Walsh and Michael McIntosh Everhart, all 20. They were to appear Monday before a U.S. magistrate judge in Greenbelt. Speed, 21, who worked for a security company hired to guard the development, is being held until a hearing Tuesday.

Initially, there was speculation the fires were set by environmental extremists because some environmental groups had complained the houses threatened a nearby bog. But no evidence has been found to support that theory, police said.

Attention then turned to whether the arsons could have been racially motivated. While many of the buyers of the half-million-dollar homes were black, Charles County is largely rural and mostly white.

Derrick Potts, who is black and lives with his girlfriend and children in the only occupied house in the section of Hunters Brooke that burned, said he doubts race was the prime motive.

His family has been warmly received by the Indian Head community following the fires, and Potts has not sensed any racial animosity. "I've never looked at this area as having racial problems," he said.

Potts' home suffered little damage and the family was able to return home last week.

Another homeowner, Jacque Hightower, said he has never seen any open racial hostility in the fast-growing region south of Washington.

"Charles County is one of the only places in the (Washington) D.C. metro area that seemed friendly to us," he said.

Several shoppers at a grocery store in Accokeek, just north of Indian Head, also said there was little racial tension in the area.

But Janaire Anderson, of Clinton, said that doesn't mean it wasn't a motive in the fires. "I think race is a factor in everything we do," she said.

Parady was a "riding member" with the Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department, which meant he could ride with fire crews but not actively engage in firefighting, Fire Department President Wayne Jordan told The Washington Post.

Jordan said Parady was not on duty the morning of the arsons and was not involved in responding to the fires. Mary Black, Parady's fiancee, told the Post that Parady was home with her the morning the fires were set.

Speed also apparently had ambitions to become a firefighter. He expressed interest in joining two local volunteer departments about two months ago, but never followed up, members said.

AP writer Foster Klug in Baltimore contributed to this story.


12/19/04 14:09 EST
 

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Re: re: Volunteer firefighter arrested in arson

Again it would see a personality test didn't do anything here...just common sense and a CORI stopped this guy. To that end I'm saying that from my work perspective, a MMPI or Wexler can be beat, just as a polygraph can be beat...so these "pseudo scientific tests " really will only do one thing, open up departments to lawsuits.

stm4710 said:
Im not saying draw the guys DNA or saying..... you look like a fuzz ball wierdo get out of here.
But if this person come to the interview and his first question is........"when do I get my light permit"..........or already has a million dollars worth of lights to " keep motivated" ..........his application should probally find its way to the rubbermaid rolodex quickly IMO.

A good reason for CORI and common sense is this:

We had someone try to join our department over the summer. He started out OK, seemed motivated , we showed him our trucks and such and he went through the process. He came down by appointment, filled out the app. Our captain gave him the oral interview, told him what the department was about etc etc.

When cap told him he would need to get a MA license (had one from a nearby state) he came up with a story that he couldnt get one cause "he had some trouble in MA"......red flag one.

When it came time to fill out and sign for his CORI form he started getting real fidgety about it......red flag two.

When cap explained in plain english the standerd: "If something "major" (ie: we are not worried about a parking ticket in the 70's. as an example) comes back you will automaticly be denied and if you are wanted the infomation you supplied will be given to the police. Will we find anything?" he wanted to know why we were doing this to him ..........red flag three.

He wouldnt fill out the CORI form...... he went to his car and brought in a long print out from the another states RMV of traffic offenses saying we didnt have to do the CORI now, this was proof enough and seemed rather nervous..........red flag four.

Anywho his CORI was run cause he eventally agreed. He was denied, cap wouldt go into details but he said......."he wasnt kidding when he said he had some trouble in MA", nothing active though. :evil:

Anywho, I have seen this guy lurking at around at calls we go on, he comes up and tries to get behind the fire line.......what a goon .

And for the curious..........he did have lights on his car. :roll:
 
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