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Alleged Baltimore firebomber is denied bail; attorney says he has alibi

Firebombing suspect ordered held without bail. Lawyer says he has an alibi

A Baltimore judge denied bail Wednesday for alleged firebomber Antonio Wright, saying there were no conditions of release that would ensure public safety.

District Judge William M. Dunn cited the Baltimore man's criminal record, including an armed robbery and multiple failures to appear in court, as well as the "serious nature of the allegations" against him in the firebombing.

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Wright — who appeared at the hearing via a video link from jail — is accused of throwing two Molotov cocktails into a rowhouse in the Johnston Square neighborhood of East Baltimore early Saturday.

Prosecutors and police say the bombs ignited a blaze that killed two teenagers — Shi-Heem Sholto, 19, and Tyrone James, 17 — and injured five others, including two young children.

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Wright, 26, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, arson, assault, reckless endangerment and dozens of other offenses.

Police have said the firebombing appeared to be linked to a shooting two days earlier, in which the victim ran into the home in the 1200 block of Greenmount Avenue that burned in the fire.

The police department named Wright Public Enemy No. 1 shortly after the blaze. He turned himself in and proclaimed his innocence. Family members live-streamed video of his being handcuffed on Facebook.

Assistant State's Attorney David Chiu and pretrial services asked that Wright be held without bail.

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Wright's attorney asked Dunn to consider releasing him. Attorney Warren Brown said his client has an alibi and had no motive to commit such a crime.

Brown said he was told by the state's attorney's office that a single witness identified Wright as the person who threw the Molotov cocktails. The statement of charges in the case suggests there was more than one witness.

Brown said there was no forensic evidence linking Wright to the crime. He said there was "nothing to indicate that he would have an acrimonious relationship with anyone" who was in the house when it was burned.

After the hearing, Brown said he was not surprised Wright was denied bail. He said it should have been granted.

"Listen, when you get past the gravity of the charges and you look at the case, you've got a young man who has an alibi: He was home with his wife and his 1-year-old child," Brown said. "He knows these people. He lives in the neighborhood. There's no motive whatsoever. The state has not established a motive for firebombing someone's home."

Brown asked that the public "not jump to the conclusion that, because he's charged, that he is, in fact, guilty."

"The process, I think, will lend itself to shedding light on what really happened," he said.

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