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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Serial Arsonist Pleads Guilty to 3 Counts of 1st Degree Arson

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930         

         A 'serial arsonist' arrested in the District of Columbia in July has reached a plea agreement for his crimes committed in Prince George's County.  Maurice T. Dews plead guilty and received 25 years in prison for his crimes of Arson committed in the District of Columbia earlier this month.  Today, he faced charges for 3 counts of First Degree Arson in Prince George's County.  He plead guilty and received 15 years to be served concurrently with his jail term he is serving in the District of Columbia.

         On March 21, 2012, Fire Investigators from the Office of the Fire Marshal for Prince George’s County received custody of Dews from the District of Columbia Jail.  The temporary release was under court order from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  Dews was transported with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department and the District of Columbia Fire Investigations Office to Circuit Court in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  The purpose of the temporary release was to allow Dews to appear in court in Prince George’s County in regards to three first degree arson charges.  Upon completion of his court appearance, Dews was returned to the District of Columbia Jail without incident.

          During his court appearance, Dews plead guilty to three counts of first degree arson.  For each count he received a five year sentence to be served consecutively (as related to the charges within Prince George’s County).  This plea was part of a joint plea agreement for cases within the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County.  Dews will receive a total sentence of 25 years imprisonment and five years supervised release for both cases, including a 25 year sentence in the District of Columbia and a 15 year sentence in Maryland, which will run concurrently.  The locations of the three arsons within Prince George’s County are as follows:

•           7640 Allendale Circle (5/1/07)
•           3970 Warner Avenue (12/31/10)
•           3974 Warner Avenue (5/2/11)

As part of Dews’ plea arrangement, he admitted involvement in an additional ten incidents involving arson within Prince George’s County to include a dumpster fire, fires in vacant houses, and several small fires within structures.

Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks stated, "Today we removed a criminal from our streets that had no regard for the lives or property of our citizens,” Alsobrooks said.  “While the properties he set fire to were unoccupied, his disregard for the people in surrounding structures and the fire fighters who must extinguish the flames is reprehensible and I am pleased that he will be off our streets for a long time.”

Through the course of investigation it was determined that Dews applied for membership as a volunteer firefighter for Prince George’s County, Maryland.  His most recent application was denied due to a suspended license.

To reach this conclusion, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department’s Office of the Fire Marshal participated in a joint investigation with the District of Columbia Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms & Explosives (ATF)’s Washington Field Office (WFO) and Baltimore Field Office (BFO) and the Prince George’s County Police Department.  Additionally the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia prosecuted this case.

"We have an experienced and extremely talented group of Fire Investigators that have been involved in several serial arson investigations ending with an arrest and successful prosecution", stated Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor.  "I am proud of the work of our Fire Investigators and allied agencies."

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