Silver Spring Felon Convicted of Firebombing
Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal jury convicted Darius Eric Wilder, age 41, of Silver Spring, Maryland, on August 16, 2018, on charges related to the firebombing of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment.
The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Baltimore Field Division; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department, and Fire Chief Scott Goldstein of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.
According to the information presented at Wilder’s four-day trial, on April 15, 2017, at approximately 9:22 p.m. the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to a fire on the balcony of an apartment in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which they located and extinguished. Investigators from the Montgomery County Office of Fire and Explosives Investigation conducted an investigation and located two incendiary bombs, commonly known as Molotov cocktails.
One of the Molotov cocktails was on the balcony of the apartment, and damaged the wooden decking and children’s bikes. The second Molotov cocktail was on the ground below. The liquids within the bottles as well as wick material found in the debris field were submitted to the ATF Forensic Science Laboratory, which later confirmed the presence of gasoline. The ATF National Laboratory Center also conducted DNA analysis of the bottles and found that Wilder was a possible contributor to the DNA profile found on one of the Molotov cocktails.
According to trial testimony, the individual who leased the apartment had recently attempted to end a relationship with Wilder, but Wilder continued to contact the woman. The evidence showed that on April 15, 2017, Wilder had texted and called the woman repeatedly, with the last text occurring at 9:13 p.m. Cell location data established that Wilder’s cell phone was located in the area of the apartment complex at around the time of the fire.
Witnesses testified that on April 18, 2017, law enforcement attempted to stop Wilder’s vehicle, but Wilder rammed a police vehicle and ran away. Montgomery County Police officers pursued and arrested Wilder.
Wilder had a previous felony conviction and was therefore prohibited from possessing destructive devices.
Wilder faces a maximum of 10 in prison for being a felon in possession of a destructive device; a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison for arson affecting interstate commerce; and a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison for use and carry of a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel has scheduled sentencing on December 6, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cellular Analysis Survey Team (CAST) for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Sykes and Nicolas Mitchell, who prosecuted the case.