Silver Spring Man Gets 35 Years for Firebombing Girlfriend’s Apartment

A Silver Spring man received a 35-year sentence Monday in federal prison for throwing a pair of Molotov cocktails at his girlfriend’s apartment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore said.

After he completes his incarceration, Darius Eric Wilder must undergo five years of supervised release.

Wilder, 41, was charged with committing arson, and for using, carrying and possessing a destructive device during and in furtherance of a crime of violence, related to the firebombing of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A federal jury convicted Wilder of those charges on August 16, 2018, according to online documents.

According to the information presented at Wilder’s four-day trial, on April 15, 2017, at about 9:22 p.m. the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to a fire on the balcony of an apartment in Gaithersburg, which they extinguished.

Investigators from the Montgomery County Office of Fire and Explosives Investigation found two incendiary bombs, commonly known as Molotov cocktails, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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 U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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 the U.S. Attorney.

According to trial testimony, at the time of the fire, the woman who leased the apartment lived there with three children. The woman had recently tried to end a relationship with Wilder, but he continued to contact the woman.

The evidence showed that in February 2017, Wilder threatened to light himself on fire and sent several photographs, depicting a gas can and a lighter with a flame, via numerous text messages to her.

Evidence presented at trial, including cell site location information, demonstrated that on March 8 and March 9, 2017, Wilder loosened and removed the lug nuts from the tires on the woman’s vehicle, the U.S. Attorney said.

Later in March 2017, the woman discovered broken glass placed in front of her car tire. Google searches found on Wilder’s cellphone during a forensic analysis also showed that on March 18, 2017, Wilder searched for images of gas lines and brake lines found under the type of vehicle driven by the woman.

Finally, the evidence showed that on April 15, 2017, the day of the firebombing, Wilder texted and called the woman repeatedly, with the last text occurring at 9:13 p.m., according to the U.S. Attorney.

Cell location data established that Wilder’s cell phone was found in the area of the apartment complex at around the time of the fire.

Witnesses testified that on April 18, 2017, law enforcement saw Wilder leave his residence carrying a cooler with a black trash bag on top.  Wilder got into his vehicle and drove away.  Law enforcement tried to stop Wilder’s vehicle, but he rammed a police vehicle and ran away, according to the U.S. Attorney.

Montgomery County Police officers pursued and arrested Wilder.  A search of the vehicle recovered three lighters, a black plastic bag containing a gas can with gasoline, a 48-quart red cooler, a backpack containing a composition book and a tire iron.

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