- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A federal judge yesterday postponed sentencing for a man who has been convicted of participating in Maryland’s largest residential arson case until more information about the man’s involvement in the crime is revealed.

U.S. District Judge Roger Titus deferred sentencing Jeremy Daniel Parady, 21, until Oct. 18 for his conviction in December’s arson that caused $10 million worth of damage in a housing subdivision in Charles County, Md.

“This is an extraordinarily heinous series of crimes. This is a crime involving incalculable damage to the residents of the subdivision, incalculable damage to race relations in the state, and it is incalculable in creating a climate of fear,” Judge Titus said.

Under a plea deal, Parady — a former Accokeek volunteer firefighter — would have received nine years and 10 months in prison for pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson.

Parady is one of five men accused of setting fire to dozens of houses under construction in the Hunters Brooke development near Indian Head on Dec. 6. Ten houses were destroyed. No one was injured.

The other defendants face charges of arson, conspiracy to commit arson and aiding and abetting.

Patrick S. Walsh, 20, of Fort Washington; Aaron Lee Speed, 21, of Waldorf; Michael M. Everhart, 20, of Waldorf, and Roy T. McCann Jr., 22, of Waldorf, are scheduled to stand trial July 12 on the charges.

Investigators have said that Mr. Walsh was the leader and that the others were members of a street racing club. Mr. Speed was a security guard at the development.

Judge Titus said leaders in the arson ring should be punished more harshly than followers.

After yesterday’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Sanger said that she agreed to the judge’s call for proportionate penalties and that more information would be revealed during the trials.

Investigators have not explained whether the arsons were intended to gain publicity for a gang or whether they were racially motivated because most of the home buyers are black. The defendants are white.

Michael E. Gilbert, 21, of Fort Washington, originally was charged in the arson, but charges were dropped when a grand jury indicted the other five.

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