Former Gang Member Gets 15 Years In Revenge Arson

December 09, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel , andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

A former gang member who prosecutors said was the ringleader of the "vigilante justice" done in mistaken revenge for the homicide of a Crofton teenager was sentenced Tuesday to serve 15 years in prison.

"But for the grace of God, we would be dealing with a triple homicide," Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Hackner told Jonathan R. Myers, 23, of Gambrills, as he handed down the maximum sentence of 30 years for first-degree arson and suspended half of it.

The sentence topped the three to 10 years called for in state guidelines. Hackner ordered Myers to pay more than $30,000 in restitution for the charred Piney Orchard town house. Scared, the family has moved.

"He had no problem setting a house on fire with people sleeping inside," Assistant State's Attorney Michael Dunty said.

The home was firebombed at about 3 a.m. June 3.

Myers wept as he apologized in court. No one from the victims' family attended.

Myers was drunk at a party held in memory of Christopher Jones, a 14-year-old Crofton boy killed May 30, who was a friend of his. Dunty said Myers planned, led and carried out the arson, though defense lawyer Peter O'Neill called the three teenagers with Myers willing participants.

Compared to Myers, they received comparatively light juvenile court punishment.

O'Neill told Hackner that Myers' upbringing featured an absent father, abusive stepfather and mother so addicted to drugs that Myers called paramedics to save her when he was 7 years old.

Teen rumors had it that the targeted teenager was one of the two who killed Christopher. But officials said not only was Addie Mahmutagic not home that night because of threats, but he was not one of the youths who fatally struck Christopher.

Kristin Myers said her son was a "scapegoat" for "prosecutors' incompetence in not bringing two murderers to justice."

She was referring to the two teenagers found to have committed manslaughter in Christopher's death. Ages 15 and 17, the two youths must be freed from juvenile facilities by the time they turn 21.

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