CENTREVILLE — A Delaware man, Edward C. Gaines, III, age 43, will be sentenced later this summer for throwing a gas filled, lit plastic Snapple tea bottle at his former girlfriend’s home while she and her family were asleep in the early morning hours.
The incident occurred in October of last year in the Chester Harbor community in northern Queen Anne’s County. On May 27, Gaines pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court for Queen Anne’s County, to the manufacturing and possession of a destructive device, specifically a Molotov cocktail, which carries a potential penalty of up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 16.
The case was prosecuted by Lance G. Richardson, State’s Attorney for Queen Anne’s County with Gaines represented by defense counsel P. Marshall Long.
According to the state, Gaines was sentenced, Adkins just the dummy that dropped his cell phone at the scene. The investigating officer, Deputy State Fire Marshall Brad Childress, after seeing a screen saver picture of Adkins’ girlfriend on the cell phone, was able to implicate Adkins in the crime.
Adkins admitted to driving Gaines to the scene of the crime and then watching Gaines throw the Molotov cocktail at the house.
Childress was able to obtain video surveillance from a Royal Farms store in the vicinity of the crime which captured Gaines purchasing the Snapple bottle, emptying the contents of the bottle and then filling the bottle with gasoline. Gaines then travelled to his former girlfriend’s home to carry out his plot by throwing the bottle against the home in hopes of setting the residence on fire.
The plastic Snapple bottle fortunately bounced off the siding of the home and quickly extinguished on the ground. The occupants of the home heard the thud against the house and saw the glowing device on the ground so they called 911 and police were dispatched.
Gaines had previously threatened the victim that he “would burn her house down,” reported a spokesperson for the state. There were no injuries or damages to the home but Richardson characterized the crime as a “nefarious and evil scheme.”
The victim addressed the court and spoke of her fear of Gaines and her desire for him to receive a lengthy prison sentence.