SNOW HILL – A Snow Hill man, arrested in October in connection to a residential fire in West Ocean City last April, was found guilty this week in Circuit Court of first-degree arson and now awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation which could put him behind bars for as long as 30 years.
On April 11, Ocean City firefighters responded to a reported fire at a residence on Keyser Point Rd. in West Ocean City. A neighbor reported the fire. First-arriving units reported heavy fire showing from the rear of the single-story dwelling. The fire was quickly extinguished with no injuries reported. The Berlin Volunteer Fire Company also responded to assist. The residence was unoccupied at the time of the blaze. During the course of the investigation, the Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire had been intentionally set and ruled it an arson case, although no suspect or suspects were immediately identified. In October, however, the Fire Marshal’s Office concluded its investigation with the arrest of Thomas W. Sellers, 53, whose last known address was in Snow Hill. Sellers was charged with first- and second-degree arson along with first-degree burglary.
On Wednesday, Sellers was found guilty of first-degree arson, but sentencing was deferred pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation. First-degree arson is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 30 years. The other charges against Sellers were not prosecuted.
For Sellers, his arrest in October on arson charges for the Keyser Point Rd. fire was just the most recent string of incidents in the same area. In August, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for trespassing at a residence on Keyser Point Rd. In that incident dating back to March 2009, Sellers entered the West Ocean City residence uninvited and later slashed the tires of a truck in the back yard. On March 23, 2009, a Maryland State Police trooper responded to a residence on Keyser Point Rd. in West Ocean City for a reported burglary. The trooper met with the victim who told police three different witnesses had seen a man they knew as Sellers enter the home illegally the day before. According to the witnesses, Sellers announced he was going into the residence, which he had been banned from in the past, to use the bathroom. While inside, the witnesses reported hearing Sellers rummage through cabinets in the home. The property owner returned and confronted Sellers, who said he had entered the locked residence after finding a hidden key outside. According to police reports, when Sellers left the residence, he went out to the back yard and slashed the tires of an unregistered Ford F-150 truck.