Guatemalan immigrant pleads guilty in Howard County to role in Elkridge house fire

A Guatemalan immigrant pleaded guilty Monday in Howard County Circuit Court to two counts of attempted first-degree murder for his role in a fire that authorities said was set at the Elkridge home where his estranged wife lived.

Prosecutors said they would argue for a 20-year prison sentence for Santiago Adalpho Gonzalez-Miner, 44, although defense lawyers can seek a lesser sentence, according to T. Wayne Kirwan, spokesman for the Howard County State's Attorney's Office. Gonzales-Miner is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 31. A second defendant, Edvin Giovanni Ceron Reyes, 24, is scheduled for a pretrial hearing next month and a trial in mid-January.

At the time of the Feb. 18 fire, about 10 people lived in the Elkridge home, and at least one was seen jumping from the roof to escape the blaze, according to prosecutors. Everyone escaped, but firefighters estimated the damage to the house at about $300,000. According to prosecutors, Gonzalez-Miner said his wife, Lilliam, moved into the house to live with another man. Gonzalez-Miner told police that he and Ceron Reyes were drinking together the night of the fire, that he took the other man to get a can of gasoline, and that he waited nearby for Ceron Reyes to set the blaze, according to prosecutors.

An earlier version of this story had the incorrect first initial and spelling of the last name of T. Wayne Kirwan. The Sun regrets the error.

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