Md. Man Pleads Guilty Following Subdivision Arson

June 28, 2005

United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Allen Loucks
recently announced that Aaron Lee Speed, 21, of Waldorf, Maryland pled guilty to conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the Dec. 6, 2004 fire at the Hunters Brooke development located in Charles County, Md.

According to the statement of facts agreed to by the parties, beginning in October of 2004 Speed conspired with others to commit arson at 35 houses under construction in the Hunter’s Brooke development in Indian Head, Charles County, Maryland.

To carry out the scheme, the conspirators obtained flammable materials and poured the materials into containers. Some of the materials were placed on the premises during the time Speed worked at Hunter’s Brooke as the security guard on the night of Dec. 3, 2005.

Other items were placed onsite on the night of the fire. To conceal the flammable materials, the conspirators used common containers such as drywall buckets, detergent bottles and other large plastic containers. On Dec. 6, 2004, the conspirators poured other accelerants in the entranceways and other areas of the houses located on those lots.

Using flares, matches and propane torches, the conspirators then lit the flammable materials, causing a series of fires which resulted in the destruction of or damage to several houses in various stages of construction. None of the houses were occupied at the time of the fires.

Speed’s reported role during the arson was, among other things, to assist in stealing the ignitable liquids used to start the fire, provide transportation for those ignitable liquids to Hunter’s Brooke, advise other co-conspirators on how and when to gain access to the site and to contact the security guard on duty and encourage him to leave to allow unfettered access to Hunter’s Brooke.

In addition, based on his knowledge gained as a security guard at Hunter’s Brooke, Speed provided a hand-drawn map of the subdivision and identified which house was occupied so that it would not be targeted during the arson.

Speed reportedly supplied one of the propane torches used to start the fires, radios for communication and latex gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints. He personally participated in lighting the fires.

Speed reportedly participated in the arson at Hunter’s Brooke because he was angry at his employer for denying him bereavement leave after the death of his child. He also resented the wealth of the residents.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Speed agreed to the payment of restitution in the amount of $4,178,698.33. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 18.

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