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Man charged with setting fire to neighbor's home in Essex

A 65-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder after Baltimore County police said he set his neighbor's house on fire Tuesday in Essex.

Investigators believe John Wesley Mosley Jr. used an accelerant to start a fire in his neighbor's home in the of the 700 block of Essex Ave. Tuesday morning.

Police went to Mosley's home on Sunday after neighbors called about his strange behavior. Officers from the county's Mobile Crisis Unit — which is called when a person is suffering from a mental illness — spoke to the victim and her friend, who was not at home at the time of Tuesday's fire. They attempted to speak Mosley but he refused to cooperate.

Police said Mosley and the victim have been neighbors for years and have not had any prior disputes. But the victim and other witnesses told police that Mosley had acted strangely recently, including yelling outside his house.

Officers also responded last month after neighbors called to complain about his behavior. Police requested emergency evaluations for him in 1995 and 1996.

Police and fire personnel were called shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday. The victim was pulled from her home by a neighbor and a police officer who had forced their way inside. She was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive. The woman told police she and Mosley had an argument before the fire, and heard a loud noise and shattering windows when she noticed flames.

Initially police investigated the possibility that an incendiary device was involved because of the woman's description of the fire, but a search of Mosley's home found no hazardous materials. Investigators used accelerant-sniffing dogs in the investigation and believe one was used to start the fire.

Mosley is held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center. He did not have an attorney listed in court records.



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