Ex-police chief sentenced to life in Maryland revenge arson case

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A former Maryland police chief convicted of setting a dozen fires who targeted officials, chiropractors and family members he felt had rejected him, was sentenced Tuesday to multiple life sentences, authorities said.

A Howard County judge sentenced David Crawford, 71, to eight life sentences plus 75 years in a serial arson case that the state’s attorney’s office said spanned nearly a decade in six counties.

Crawford’s “actual enforceable prison sentence” is two life terms plus 75 years, the DA’s office said. The terms will run concurrently.

“These families have waited several years for justice to be served, and we are grateful to have helped make it happen,” Howard County State’s Attorney Richard Gibson said in a statement. “It is particularly egregious that someone who dedicated his life to law enforcement and was a police chief at some point in his career would engage in conduct that was evil and terrifying because of his nature”.

Crawford, a longtime police officer who last served as chief in suburban Laurel, Washington, was convicted in March of eight counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of malicious arson .

He was arrested two years ago after authorities determined there was a connection between the fires, the DA’s office said: Crawford had disagreements with each of the victims.

In some cases, Crawford set fire to homes while families slept inside, the DA’s office said. A woman, whose house Crawford had burned twice, expressed relief to NBC affiliate WBAL in Baltimore activated Tuesday after passing the sentence.

“I’ve been through a lot the last few years hoping for everything,” Quinn Henderson told the station.

Former Laurel Police Chief David Crawford was arrested at his Ellicott City home and is a suspect in a dozen fires across Maryland.via NBC Washington

Prosecutors said Crawford developed a list of targets and began lighting fires with gasoline in 2011, prosecutors said. The arson attacks spanned Howard, Frederick, Charles, Montgomery, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties through 2020, the DA’s office said.

Crawford’s targets included two chiropractors, a city official and three former police officials, including a former police chief, the DA’s office said.

During the trial, prosecutors said Crawford burned her nephew’s pool, fence and deck after he deleted his uncle on Facebook. WBAL reported.

Clark Price, a former supervisor with the Prince George’s County Police Department, told jurors he could have promoted Crawford twice, but he didn’tdepending on the season.

After Price’s house was set on fire, he wrote about it on a Facebook page for retired police officers. Crawford sent him a direct message asking for pictures of the fire, WBAL reported.

Price recounted that Crawford told him, “It’s better to be lucky than good. You both are. Cheers,” according to the station.

On Tuesday, an attorney for Crawford called the prison term “tragic” and said he planned to appeal, WBAL reported.

During the trial, Crawford’s defense argued that the case was circumstantial, with no physical evidence connecting him to the crimes, the station reported.

Crawford spoke at the hearing but did not apologize and said her faith in God had been renewed in recent years, according to WBAL.

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