City man pleads guilty in firebombing scheme


One of the final defendants connected to the firebombing of a North Baltimore community leader's home pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday.

Cedrick Bowman, 24, admitted using explosives and conspiring to commit witness tampering in the Jan. 15, 2005, attack on the Harwood home of Edna McAbier.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 31. He could receive at least 15 years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement read by Assistant U. S. Attorney Kwame J. Manley, Bowman, along with at least six others, attempted to firebomb McAbier's home because of her "constant reports of drug activity to the police."

Members of the group threw Molotov cocktails at McAbier's house, but she was not hurt and the home did not sustain substantial damage. Bowman, according to the federal prosecutor, threw the makeshift bombs at the rear of the residence.

McAbier attended the hearing and appeared shaken at the details of the incident.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz recognized McAbier in the courtroom shortly after he accepted the plea agreement and said he wanted to help provide closure for her.

"I think it's in everybody's interest to bring total finality to this proceeding," the judge said.

McAbier declined to comment. She hugged Bowman's mother, Rosalind, after the hearing.

"I hope he learns from this experience while he is away and tries every opportunity to get educated," Rosalind Bowman said of her son.

Three others involved in the firebombing, which came at a time when witness intimidation was of central concern to police and prosecutors, have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms. They include Terrence Smith, the leader, who was sentenced to 80 years in prison in February.

Three additional men have pleaded guilty and await sentencing, and another woman, who made a phony 911 call in order to steer authorities away from the bombing, received a four-year prison sentence.

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