Nonprofit head convicted of torching ex-girlfriend's house

Two homes were damaged in 2010 blaze

November 08, 2012|By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

A 56-year-old Milford Mill man and former nonprofit board director has been convicted of setting his ex-girlfriend's city row house on fire in 2010, while she, her five-year-old son and two others slept inside, according to the Baltimore state's attorney's office.

Convicted Wednesday on 10 counts including first-degree arson and reckless endangerment, Randall Martin, Jr. now faces nearly 70 years in prison.

Martin was arrested in June 2010 after barricading himself inside of his home in Baltimore County. Prosecutors said he fled there after dousing gasoline on the front porch of the row house in the city's West Forest Park neighborhood and setting it on fire, prosecutors said.

The blaze destroyed the home in the 4300 block of Norfolk Avenue and heavily damaged a neighboring home, though everyone inside was able to escape. A family pet died.

Martin and the woman had recently broken up after a six-year relationship, and the night prior had argued outside of the row house, in which Martin had secretly arranged for the woman to live as a board director of the Prisoners Aid Association of Maryland, prosecutors said.

The association provides housing for former inmates.

The woman allegedly threw a rock at Martin's car during the argument, and Martin returned about 3:50 a.m. the following morning to set the blaze, prosecutors said.

After being called to the scene, police learned Martin's name and asked Baltimore County Police to assist in arresting him at his home.

When police arrived at Martin's home in the 3600 block of Bellmore Road in Milford Mill about 4 a.m., he answered the door but then slammed it closed and retreated inside, police and prosecutors said.

Police were unsure whether he had weapons, but knew his wife was inside with him and treated the incident as a barricade situation. Martin did not surrender until 7:40 a.m.

After he was charged, he violated a bail condition by contacting the victim, prosecutors said. His bail was revoked by Judge Sylvester B. Cox when the jury returned its guilty verdict Wednesday.

Martin was convicted of first-degree arson, malicious destruction of property, malicious burning, and seven counts of reckless endangerment — one count each for the four people in his ex-girlfriend's home and the three people in the neighboring home at the time of the fire.

Martin's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2013. He faces a maximum sentence of more than 69 years in prison.

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