Serial arsonist and ex-police chief David Crawford gets life

David Crawford (Prince George’s County Fire:EMS Department and YouTube screengrabs)

A 71-year-old former police chief in Maryland will spend the rest of his life behind bars after being convicted on a dozen felony charges for setting a string of fires targeting the homes and property of his perceived rivals and enemies. Circuit Court Judge Richard S. Bernhardt on Tuesday ordered serial arsonist David Crawford to serve eight life sentences plus an additional 75 years in state prison for the fires, which were set in multiple counties across the state over the course of nearly a decade, authorities announced.

Due to several of the sentences being served concurrently, Crawford’s “actual executable prison sentence” is two terms of life plus 75 years, according to a press release from the Office of the State’s Attorney for Howard County.

Though no one was killed in any of the fires set by Crawford, many — including young children — were forced to flee their homes in the middle of the night to avoid the flames and lost nearly all of their personal possessions.

“After careful consideration of the state’s recommendation, arguments and victim impact statements, Judge Bernhardt delivered a sentence today that we believe is wholly appropriate for the defendant’s crimes,” State’s Attorney Richard Gibson said in a statement following the proceedings. “The horror and nature of arson is so deeply powerful in its impact and complete in its destruction in the victim’s peace of mind that it is only fitting the defendant spend the rest of his natural life behind bars.”

Tuesday’s sentencing came after a Howard County jury in March found Crawford guilty on eight counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree arson and one count of first-degree malicious burning for fires set in that jurisdiction between 2017 and 2018. He is still facing trial on four counts of attempted first-degree murder in Prince George’s County and three counts of first-degree arson in Montgomery County, among other charges. He was first arrested in March 2021.

Serial arsonist and ex-police chief David Crawford gets life

Leave a Comment