A 41-year-old Silver Spring man who threw Molotov cocktails at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
A Silver Spring man who threw Molotov cocktails at his ex-girlfriend’s home as been sentenced to 35 years in prison. (Shutterstock)
SILVER SPRING, MD — A Silver Spring man who threw two Molotov cocktails at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in 2017 has been sentenced to more than 30 years in federal prison.
According to prosecutors, 41-year-old Darius Eric Wilder was sentenced to 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. A federal jury first convicted Wilder of those charges in August of 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."
On April 15, 2017 — just before 9:30 p.m. — Montgomery County fire officials responded to a fire on the balcony of an apartment in Gaithersburg, according to prosecutors. After the fire was extinguished, investigators found two Molotov cocktails: one was on the balcony of the apartment and the other was on the ground below. Wilder’s ex-girlfriend, and her three children, were living in the apartment at the time.
The woman had recently attempted to end a relationship with Wilder, but he continued to contact her, prosecutors said. Several months before the incident, Wilder sent a series of text messages to his ex-girlfriend. Prosecutors said Wilder threatened to light himself on fire and sent her several pictures, depicting a gas can and a lighter with a flame. Officials added that Wilder texted and called his ex-girlfriend multiple times on the day of the firebombing.
On April 18, three days after the incident, law enforcement officials arrested Wilder and found three lighters and a black plastic bag containing a gas can with gasoline inside his vehicle.
"This kind of violence will not be tolerated," said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. "If he had been successful in starting the fire, Wilder could have killed all of the residents of the apartment complex where the victim resided, including the woman and her three children. We are all safer with Darius Wilder removed from the community for 35 years in federal prison, where there is no parole — ever."