Ex-Police Chief to Spend Rest of Life Behind Bars Over Series of ‘Revenge Fires’

The 71-year-old was initially arrested in 2021 in connection with a series of 12 fires targeting “victims with whom he had previous disagreements.”

Video via WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore

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Video via WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore

A former police chief in Maryland has received multiple life sentences in connection with what’s been widely described as a series of revenge fires.

According to a report from regional outlet WTOP, 71-year-old David Crawford was sentenced this week to eight life terms plus another 75 years. In March of this year, Crawford was found guilty of multiple counts in connection with the fires including attempted murder, arson, and malicious burning.

The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a news release on Tuesday that Crawford’s serial arson case spanned multiple counties in the state.  In total, the office said, he was connected to 12 arsons, including several dating back to 2017 in Howard County alone. In a statement, Howard County State’s attorney Richard Gibson called the sentence “wholly appropriate” given the nature of this case.

“The horror and nature of arson is so deeply powerful in its impact and complete in its destruction in the victim’s peace of mind that it is only fitting the defendant spend the rest of his natural life behind bars,” Gibson added. "These families have waited several years for justice and we are grateful to play some part in delivering that for them. It is particularly egregious that someone who dedicated their life to law enforcement and was the chief of police at some point in their career would take it upon themselves to engage in conduct that was evil and terrifying in its nature."

From 2006 to 2010, Crawford served as the Chief of Police in Laurel. Additional work history includes serving as Chief of the District Heights Police Department and Major for the Prince George’s County Police Department.

Crawford was initially arrested back in March 2021. At the time, the Prince George’s County Fire Department said a multi-agency investigation had shown that Crawford’s fires had targeted “victims with whom he had previous disagreements.”

Per WBAL, an attorney for Crawford said this week that he intends to appeal his client’s sentence.

Complex has reached out to the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Laurel Police Department for additional comment. This story may be updated.

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