United States Attorney Kenneth Wainstein announced that on Aug. 4, 2005, Superior Court Judge Rafael Diaz sentenced Gregory Bellas, 26, of Washington, D.C., to a combined sentence of 216 months in prison for two counts of arson and one count of aggravated assault. Bellas pled guilty to the charges on May 16, 2005.
In sentencing Bellas to the maximum sentence under the recently adopted Superior Court Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Diaz noted that Bellas was a danger to the community and that his actions warranted the sentence.
Bellas’s crime spree lasted over a period of 10 days in February 2005. According to the government’s evidence, on Jan. 26, 2005, Bellas’s ex-girlfriend evicted him from her home, which was located in the 1700 block of Trenton Place, SE, Washington, D.C. (PSA 704). On Feb. 1, 2005, Bellas returned to his ex-girlfriend’s home around 3:30 a.m. and tried to kick in her front door. When he failed to gain entry, he poured gasoline outside the front door and ignited it. She called 911. The D.C. Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the fire, which was burning at the only exit from the second floor residence. Two adults and five children were present in the apartment when Bellas set the fire.
After Bellas was evicted by his ex-girlfriend, he moved into the home of another acquaintance. On Feb. 9, 2005, that acquaintance confronted Bellas about what he had done to his ex-girlfriend’s home. He became enraged and admitted that he had tried to kill his ex-girlfriend and her children. Concerned, the acquaintance demanded that Bellas leave immediately.
Bellas responded by kicking, strangling, and smothering the acquaintance. As she crawled into the hallway of her apartment building to seek help, Bellas followed. He then hit her repeatedly in her head with a pole as she screamed for help. The police responded to the scene and transported the acquaintance to the hospital, where she remained until the afternoon of Feb. 10, 2005.
After the acquaintance was released from the hospital on Feb. 10, she went to her sister’s apartment, located in the 3000 block of Stanton Road, SE, Washington, D.C. In the early morning hours of Feb. 11, 2005, Bellas went to that apartment and poured gasoline at the front door of the apartment, and set it on fire.
The fire quickly spread throughout the inside of the apartment, ultimately engulfing the entire apartment. Three adults and four children were forced to jump to safety out of the apartment’s third floor window before the fire department arrived and extinguished the fire.
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