Judge raises bail sharply for 18-year-old suspect in church fire Amount increased to $200,000

February 24, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer Staff writers Joe Nawrozki and Roger Twigg contributed to this article.

Bail for Anthony James Pfarr, one of two Essex teen-agers charged with burning down a Mormon church, was raised yesterday from $35,000 to $200,000.

Judge Alexander Wright Jr. increased the bail during a hearing at Essex District Court in Baltimore County. If convicted, Mr. Pfarr, an 18-year-old student at Kenwood High School, would face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Mr. Pfarr and a 13-year-old Essex boy were arrested Monday and charged with setting a fire Saturday night that caused $3 million in damage to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church is located at 120 Stemmers Run Road in Essex.

The younger boy, who attends Stemmers Run Middle School, was turned over to his parents Monday night. If found delinquent in juvenile court, he could be sent to the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School.

"Gosh, I'm happy," Don Stebbing, the church's maintenance manager, said after learning of the arrests.

According to police and District Court charging documents, an adult in the neighborhood near the church told police Mr. Pfarr was involved in the arson. Police took Mr. Pfarr in for questioning at 5:44 p.m. Monday.

Less than an hour later, Mr. Pfarr told police he and the younger boy set the fire by igniting leaves near a wood fence behind the church. Mr. Pfarr also said they set a fire at a trash can owned by the church.

Mr. Pfarr, of the 800 block of N. Marlyn Ave., lives a few blocks from the church. The 13-year-old's school is across the street from the church.

"The fire appeared to be started as a prank, but quickly got out of control," Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger said. "They may not have intended to burn the entire church."

Yesterday, parishioners continued their efforts to move valuables out of the church before work crews begin removing charred timbers and other debris.

Rebuilding the $2.4 million church will take 18 months, Mr. Stebbing said.

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