Man pleads guilty in arson case CENTRAL--Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg


A Pleasant Valley man has pleaded guilty to an arson charge tied to the fire that extensively damaged the 100-year-old Meadow Branch School next door to his home.

Rusty Jay Harman, 21, of Hughes Shop Road entered his plea Monday before Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. to a single count of arson of a private structure. Harman will be sentenced Oct. 25 after he completes an addiction treatment program.

Assistant Carroll State's Attorney Kathi Hill read the police report in court, which said Harman confessed to a deputy fire marshal that he set the fire because he was angry at his parents for locking him out of the house. He had told the marshal that he was locked out for coming home drunk and past curfew.

Harman, who was employed as a fast-food cook before his arrest, will remain at the Carroll County Detention Center without bond until Monday, when he is to enter the Shoemaker Center in-patient addiction program operated by the Carroll County Health Department.

Once he completes the Shoemaker program, he may be released on his own recognizance pending sentencing in October.

Two lesser charges -- arson of personal property and malicious destruction of property -- were dismissed.

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