The Washington Post

District man pleads guilty to series of arsons

A District man pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to five counts of arson and other charges in connection with a series of fires set at homes and other buildings since 2008.

Maurice Dews, 27, also pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated assault while armed in connection with an April blaze he set. Four firefighters were seriously injured battling the blaze at a vacant, single-family house.

As part of the plea, Dews faces 25 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ann O’Regan Keary on Feb. 3.

According to prosecutors, Dews admitted setting fire to an apartment in a multi-story, apartment complex for the elderly on Jan. 4, 2008 in the 4600 block of Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE. On March 15, 2011, Dews set fire to a single family attached rowhouse in the 3500 block of Hartford Street NW. On April 8, Dews set fire to a vacant single family home in the 800 block of 48th Place NE. On June 14, Dews set a vacant single family home in the 4500 block of Grant Street NE on fire. And on June 23, he admitted to setting fire to a vacant single family home in the 5000 block of Hayes Street NE.

In addition to the District fires, Dews also acknowledged involvement in and faces charges for three fires of abandoned properties in Prince George’s County. The first occurred May 1, 2007 in the 7600 block of Allendale Circle. The others were at two vacant properties in the 3900 block of Warner Avenue, one on Dec. 31, 2010 and the other on May 2, 2011.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.


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