A Baltimore man was sentenced to 15 years with all but seven suspended for committing arson in a Westminster apartment building in 2016.
A'riel Donte Martin, 22, of Gwynn Oak, pleaded guilty on March 18 and was sentenced by Judge Maria Oesterreicher in Carroll County Circuit Court on April 30.
After his release from the Department of Corrections, Martin will serve five years of supervised probation. He will undergo drug testing and treatment, and will pay restitution for the damages caused by the fire, according to a news release from the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office.
On July 31, 2016, members of the Office of the State Fire Marshal were dispatched to 81 Shaeffer Ave. in Westminster to investigate the cause of a building fire.
A fire broke out in an apartment on the third floor. Investigators determined that there were five separate fires set within the apartment. The investigators classified them as incendiary, according to the release, meaning an individual set them intentionally.
The fire did not damage the exterior of the apartment. There was no sign that anyone tried to force their way into the apartment, according to the release.
After the fire was extinguished, investigators found the body of a woman in the apartment’s back bedroom. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that her death was unrelated to the fire, according to the release.
The fires caused about $20,000 in damage, according to the release.
Investigators gathered evidence from witnesses and cellphone records that pointed to Martin as a suspect.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Zachary Dell, Westminster police Lt. Jeffrey Schuster, and members of the Maryland State Police and the Office of the State Fire Marshal conducted the investigation.
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Melissa Hockensmith prosecuted the case.