Md. Arsonist Receives 24 Life Sentences

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011  |  Updated 8:05 PM EDT
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The Montgomery County man who tried to kill a police officer by setting his apartment complex on fire will spend the rest of his life in prison. The judge said he wanted to make sure the man did not breathe a

Darcy Spencer

The Montgomery County man who tried to kill a police officer by setting his apartment complex on fire will spend the rest of his life in prison. The judge said he wanted to make sure the man did not breathe a "breath of free air again."

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A man convicted of setting fire to a Montgomery County arson building in order to kill a police detective received 24 life sentences from a judge plus 40 years on Wednesday.

At the sentencing for Raven Masters, convicted of 24 counts of attempted murder and 12 counts of arson, Judge Nelson Rupp said he wanted to make sure Masters did not breathe a “breath of free air again.”

On January 19, 2010, Masters was accused of setting fire to the Eagle’s Nest Apartment building.  Prosecutors said Masters set the building that was home to two dozen residents ablaze in order to kill detective John Distel, who was to testify against him in court.  Firefighters managed to rescue all of the residents safely from the building.

The court heard evidence that Masters had made elaborate plans for the intended homicide.  Investigators said the 32-year-old Maryland resident searched the internet for ways to make napalm and how to perform an arson assassination. 

The court also heard how Masters doused the hallways and stairways with gasoline before setting the fire, in addition to the doorway of the detective’s apartment.  Prosecutors said he shut off the sprinkler system and emergency lighting off as well before setting the blaze.

Masters said in his defense that the evidence had been fabricated.  A glove with his DNA was found at the burned apartment building, tying him to the scene.
 

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