Man pleads guilty to firebombing house

April 12, 2008

A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to firebombing a Baltimore rowhouse owned by a man who the day before had robbed him of money and his cell phone, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.

Marcus Crandell could face between 30 years and life in prison when he is sentenced May 1. He admitted in U.S. District Court to using a destructive device in the commission of a violent crime.

Prosecutors said that on June 1, Crandell got angry with a childhood friend who called him a childhood nickname he had hated. The man left, then returned with a gun, forced Crandell to take off his shoes, which he threw onto a roof, and robbed him.

Angry about being humiliated, early the next morning Crandell went to his friend's house in the 2600 block of Hampden Ave. and threw a Molotov cocktail made of a Seagram's gin bottle through a window he had broken with a brick. The fire didn't take, prosecutors said, and the victim ran downstairs, where Crandell threw gasoline on the man before trying unsuccessfully to set him on fire. Crandell later returned to the house, poured gasoline around the first floor and ignited it. The fire damaged the house and forced tenants to evacuate, prosecutors said

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