GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) — A 41-year-old man was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison Tuesday for throwing two molotov cocktails at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in 2017.
Darius Eric Wilder, 41, of Silver Spring Maryland will serve 35 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for 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.
He was convicted in August 2018.
“Darius Wilder is a violent criminal who used Molotov cocktails to commit arson in an attempt to seriously injure his ex-girlfriend, her children, and endanger the surrounding community,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada. “We are glad to see that justice has been served and remain committed to working alongside our law enforcement and emergency service partners to stop violent offenders like this.”
According to Wilder’s trial, on April 15, 2017, at around 9:30 p.m., the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services responded to a fire on the balcony of an apartment in Gaithersburg, Md. which they extinguished.
Investigators found two incendiary bombs, known as Molotov cocktails. One of the cocktails was on the balcony of the apartment and damaged the wooden decking and children’s bikes.
The second one was on the ground below. The liquids in the bottles as well as wick material found in the debris field were confirmed to have gasoline in them.
The woman who leased the apartment lived there with three children, according to trial testimony. The woman had recently tried to end a relationship with Wilder, but Wilder continued to contact the woman.
Wilder threatened to light himself on fire in February 2017, and sent several pictures showing a gas can and a lighter with a flame through text messages to her.
Throughout the month of March, Wilder loosened and removed lug nuts from the woman’s tires of her car, and she found broken glass in front of her tires. .
Google searches on Wilder’s phone showed that on March 18, Wilder searched for images of gas lines and brake lines found under the type of car driven by the woman.
On the day of the firebombing, Wilder texted and called the woman repeatedly, with the last text being sent at 9:13 p.m.
Witnesses said that on April 18, 2017, law enforcement saw Wilder leave his home carrying a cooler with a black trash bag on top. Wilder got into his vehicle and drove away.
When law enforcement tried to stop him, he rammed a police vehicle and ran away. Police then pursued and arrested Wilder.
Police searched Wilder’s car and found three lighters, a black plastic bag with a gas can with gasoline, a 48-quart red cooler, a backpack containing a composition book and a tire iron.
Wilder admitted that he filled up a gas can at a gas station nearby, moved the gas into the bottles and then put the bottles together on the side of the house.