Final Suspect in Maryland Arsons Pleads Guilty

August 17, 2006

The last of five people accused of setting fire to more than two dozen homes under construction in a Charles County, Maryland subdivision pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court.

Roy McCann, 23, of Waldorf, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson for the Dec. 6, 2004 fires at Hunters Brooke development in Indian Head. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute the drug Ecstasy.

McCann, who will remain in jail until his Nov. 8 sentencing, faces 20 years in prison on each charge, along with fines of $250,000 for the arson and $1 million for the drug count.

McCann and Michael Everhart were tried together in federal court for arson earlier this year, but the case ended in a hung jury. Everhart pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson in June and will be sentenced Sept. 8.

The group’s leader, Patrick Walsh, was convicted last year and sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison. Aaron Speed, 22, a security guard at Hunters Brooke, pleaded guilty and was given a prison term of more than eight years. Jeremy Parady, 21, received seven years in prison for his guilty plea.

McCann and Walsh also had 250 doses of Ecstasy that they intended to distribute, according to a statement of facts entered in court.

Authorities say they set afire or tried to torch 35 homes at Hunters Brooke, kicking in the doors and pouring flammable liquids in the entrances that they lit on fire. Most of the homes were unoccupied and no one was hurt, but one family was forced to flee the flames.

A variety of motives were given for the crimes, including Walsh’s desire to gain fame for his street racing gang. Some of the five men, all of whom are white, were also mad that many of the residents moving in to the upscale development were black, according to authorities. Thirty-two Hunters Brooke residents later filed a discrimination lawsuit against the men.

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