Tag Archives: arson

Edgewood Woman Convicted of Arson and Felony Murder

DATE: October 25, 2022
RE: Multiple Homicide convictions

(Bel Air, Maryland) – Albert J. Peisinger, Jr., State’s Attorney for Harford County, has announced that yesterday afternoon, a Harford County jury found Bobbie Sue Hodge, 63, of Edgewood, Maryland, guilty of arson in the first degree, four counts of felony murder, and three counts of assault in the second degree stemming from an arson that occurred on May 9, 2019, at 1862 Simons Court in Edgewood, Maryland. Ms. Hodge faces a maximum penalty of four life sentences plus 60 years.

On May 9, 2019, at 2:28 a.m., a third-floor occupant of the dwelling, Ernest Lee, called 911 to report a fire at 1862 Simons Court. Members of the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department were the first engine to respond to the fire. By 2:35 a.m. when the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department arrived, the third floor of the townhouse was completely engulfed in fire. Abingdon Volunteer Fire Department, Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department, Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department, and Baltimore County-Kingsville Volunteer Fire Department, also responded to the fire. Ernest Lee, Dionne Hill, and Kimberly Shupe who were all on the third floor perished in the fire. Another third-floor occupant was able to escape the fire by jumping out of his thirdfloor bedroom window. He sustained a broken ankle and arm. The Defendant and two other basement occupants were able to escape to safety. Mary Elizabeth Kennedy who was living on the second floor was rescued by fire personnel and transported to an area hospital for treatment of her burns. Ms. Kennedy later died from her injuries on January 22, 2020.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions, and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office conducted a joint investigation of the fire. After interviewing numerous witnesses including the occupants of the house, neighbors, and the Defendant, review of the 911 calls, and consulting with experts at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions, the Defendant was arrested for arson and murder.

The jury trial took place from October 5, 2022, until the verdict was reached on October 24, 2022.

“This tragedy shocked our Harford County community,” said Mr. Peisinger. “It is my hope that this verdict is a first step towards healing for the surviving victims and the families of those who lost loved ones.”

Mr. Peisinger thanked the Maryland State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions, and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office for their joint efforts in the investigation and arrest of Bobbie Sue Hodge. He also thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Angela Diehl and Timothy Doory for their extraordinary advocacy that resulted in the verdict. Mr. Peisinger additionally thanked the Honorable Paul Ishak for diligently and patiently conducting the trial.

Delaware Man Sentenced For Bel Air Arsons

HARFORD COUNTY, MD (May 27, 2021) – The Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) has concluded two separate arson investigations with the conviction and sentencing of Richard Benjamin Lodeski, 44, of Wilmington, Delaware.

Lodeski was initially charged on June 23, 2020, with: (2) counts of Second Degree Arson, (2) counts of First Degree Malicious Burning, (2) counts of Second Degree Malicious Burning, and (2) counts of Malicious Destruction of Property over $1,000. He was later charged with additional counts of Second Degree Arson, First Degree Malicious Burning, and Malicious Destruction of Property over $1,000.

The first arson fire occurred around 11:30 p.m. on June 15, 2020, at a Shell gas station located in the 1900 block of Emmorton Road in Bel Air. Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company firefighters arrived and contained a fire to the store’s roof within minutes.

The second arson fire occurred on June 20, 2020, just before 3:30 a.m., when Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company and surrounding departments responded to 1226 Bel Air Road for a reported building fire. Firefighters arrived and discovered two separate buildings on fire. The buildings, located behind the former Birroteca restaurant, were two structures housing eight different businesses. Firefighters were able to contain the separate blazes within forty minutes.

In collaboration with BATF agents, Deputy State Fire Marshals investigated both and determined the fires were incendiary (arson) in nature. It is estimated that the fires caused over 1 million dollars in damages to all three businesses.

During the investigation, Lodeski was connected to other crimes, including arson in Baltimore County and burglary in Ocean City. Investigators are working with Delaware law enforcement in connecting him to other arsons in the Dewey Beach area.

On May 26, 2021, Lodeski admitted his guilt in Harford County Circuit Court before the Honorable Kevin J. Mahoney. In exchange for his guilty plea, Judge Mahoney sentenced him to 60 years, suspending all but 10 years to the three counts of arson-second degree. Deputy State’s Attorney Gavin Patashnick prosecuted the case.

“Arson is a callous and senseless crime that endangers the lives of innocent residents and our firefighters who bravely respond to protect life and property,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. “I commend my Deputy State Fire Marshals and our federal partners in fire investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and their outstanding efforts to investigate these incidents and apprehend the suspect.”