- The Washington Times - Friday, July 1, 2022

Federal prosecutors have secured a guilty plea from the Baltimore man who last year burned down the home where his former girlfriend and two other people were living, in a prosecution that followed a remarkably light initial sentence from the state.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland said that Luther Moody Trent, 21, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property by fire for the arson he carried out in the predawn hours on May 21, 2021.

That morning, federal prosecutors said, Trent’s former girlfriend and her two roommates were inside a home when Trent poured gasoline on the exterior of the structure and set it on fire.



The home went up in a blaze that also caused damage to an adjoining building, authorities said, but all three victims escaped unharmed.

WBFF reported that Trent was originally charged by the state with 18 felonies, including three attempted murder charges, but was released from jail after serving less than six months last December, when he pleaded to one arson charge and received a 10-year suspended sentence.

“I was in shock. I didn’t really know what to feel,” the former girlfriend, who was identified as Alexis, told WBFF late last year. “It doesn’t seem like justice was served, it feels like a political game, but not my justice.”

Even Trent admitted to the station in a January interview that “I shouldn’t be out right now,” and that the light sentence emboldened criminal activity.

In February, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge vacated Trent’s original plea deal after the victims’ attorney argued that the impact statements from the former girlfriend and her two roommates were never heard by the court.

Once they were, the attempted murder and state arson charges were revived, and Trent was taken back into custody. Those charges are still pending.

Trent was arraigned on the federal charge of arson in April. The conviction carries a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 11. 

Federal prosecutors said that Trent had actually returned to the scene of the crime after the fire, and that a Baltimore City detective remembered his face while reviewing an old video of Trent and his former girlfriend.

Authorities said that Trent spoke with the detective and identified himself as “Trey Johnson,” and asked about his “cousin” who lived in the scorched residence.

Prosecutors said Trent was under a protection-from-abuse court order to stay away from the woman, and that he also sent threatening texts to the woman.

In the January interview with WBFF, the local FOX affiliate in Baltimore, Trent described his former girlfriend as “the love of my life” and said, “in my head, it was kind of like some Romeo and Juliet type of thing where…if I can’t have you, nobody else can, or at least not in Baltimore.”

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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