A 20-year-old University of Maryland student who last month made an unsuccessful bid for the student government presidency has been arrested and charged with setting fire to his own campus dormitory room twice in the last week.
Gene Edward Munnings, a junior from Baltimore who transferred to the College Park campus last fall, was arrested Sunday by campus police and state fire marshals who charged him with two counts of arson.
Munnings was released from the Prince George's County jail yesterday in the custody of his father and ordered not to return to the university until after an April court appearance.
The most recent incident, according to police, occurred early Saturday when several small fires caused more than $500 damaged to Munnings' room in Ellicott Hall, a dormitory that houses 550 students. One of the fires engulfed the student's bed.
Police also charged Munnings with setting a March 5 blaze that damaged the door to his room.
Two dorm mates said yesterday that Munnings had told them those fires and two others set in the last three weeks near his room were part of a plot to kill him.
He had said during his campaign for the student presidency, in which he finished last in a field of six, that he had evidence of corruption in several campus departments and that the fires were aimed at silencing him.
"It's all very confusing to me," Munnings said at a bail hearing yesterday. "It's hard for me to express how I feel. I don't want to get put away. I want to get psychiatric help."