Fire bombing arrest


CENTREVILLE — A man suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the Chester Harbor home of a former girlfriend turned himself in to the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, according to the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

Edward Carroll Gaines III, 42, of Wilmington, Delaware was taken into custody by troopers assigned to the Maryland State Police barrack in Centreville.

He had been on the lam since the middle of October.

Gaines and 37-year-old Mardell Larry Adkins, 37, of Centreville are charged with five counts each of attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and reckless endangerment.

They also are charged with attempted first-degree arson and manufacturing and possession of a destructive device.

Both men are being held in the Queen Anne’s County Detention Center without bail pending a preliminary hearing, at which time a District Court judge will determine if there is probable cause to believe they committed the offenses.

Adkins surrendered to police on Oct. 15. His preliminary hearing is Nov. 12.

Gaines’ preliminary hearing is Dec. 2.

Adkins and Gaines are accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a second-story window of a home in the 300-block of Fairview Drive at 1:30 a.m Oct. 7. Five people were in the home at the time — Gaines’ former girlfriend, who is believed to be the primary target, her 7-year-old daughter, her sister and her parents — according to charging documents.

No one was injured and there was no damage to the house, according to the fire marshal’s office.

The Molotov cocktail — made with a Snapple bottle — reportedly “self-extinguished.”

Deputy Dominic Sullivan of the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the home for a report of a loud noice that was heard outside, according to the application for statement of charges.

No fire call was reported.

Deputy state fire marshals assigned to the Upper Eastern Regional Office processed the scene and worked tirelessly, which led to identifying the suspects, according to State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.

According to charging documents, the intended target of the incident told investigators that she had ended an abusive relationship with Gaines a month earlier. She told investigators that she had received threats from Gaines and that he said he was going to burn down her parents’ home, according to charging documents prepared by Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Brad Childress.

The woman told investigators that Gaines had assaulted her the day before in Chestertown, that she had filed charges against him and had applied for a protective order because she feared for her safety.

Online court records show that a hearing was held in the District Court for Queen Anne’s County in the afternoon of Oct. 7 and that a judge granted a peace order barring Gaines from having any contact with the woman. Gaines also was ordered to stay away from the woman’s place of employment and not to enter her residence.

Gaines was served the temporary order on Oct. 8 and the final order, valid through April 13, 2021, on Oct. 13.

According to court records, surveillance video from the Royal Farms store on Church Hill Road, which is about 2 miles from Chester Harbor, shows Gaines purchasing a 16-ounce bottle of Snapple apple drink, emptying it and refilling it with gasoline, according to court records.

Investigators were able to confirm that Gaines purchased items used to make the incendiary device, according to court records.

As part of the investigation, investigators determined that Adkins and Gaines had been together in the hours leading up to the incident, according to court records.

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