Bail increase sought for arson suspect

Charges warrant change, prosecutor says

May 14, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Carroll prosecutor has asked a judge to raise the amount of bail for a Hampstead man who is accused of dousing his home and his wife's best friend with gasoline and then trying to ignite them early Thursday.

Noting the seriousness of the charges, Brian DeLeonardo, a special arson prosecutor for the Carroll County state's attorney's office, filed a petition in Carroll District Court on Friday seeking to raise the bail from $10,000 to $100,000.

Larry M. Mercer, 36, is charged with arson, malicious burningand first-degree assault, court documents show. A court commissioner set bail at $10,000 late Thursday and Mercer was freed on property bond, records show.

According to charging documents, police were called to the 3800 block of Shiloh Ave. just after midnight. A man there was alleged to have taken an overdose of over-the-counter medication and alleged to have tried to set a woman and his home on fire.

The woman, his wife's best friend, had wet spots on her shirt and smelled of gasoline, officers said. A camper in the driveway, the inside of the garage and a family room also smelled of gasoline, they said.

The woman told officers the man was depressed over his wife's leaving him and had shaken gasoline from a can on her and the camper, and had doused the inside of the garage and family room.

She also told officers that the man tried to light three or four matches and a cigarette lighter, but failed.

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