A Baltimore man who pleaded guilty to torching his ex-girlfriend’s home said he was surprised by a plea deal he received, saying it sends the wrong message to criminals in the city.
“I was just charged with 18 different counts, that was dropped to 10, that was dropped to one. When I shouldn’t be out right now. I disrupted somebody’s life. I traumatized somebody because of how I felt in a situation,” Luther Trent said, according to WBFF. “Personally, yes, I want to be out but principally, no I shouldn’t be out because I could have done a lot more damage than I did. I was expecting to get time. People who were in that situation, they should expect to get time.”
Trent pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree arson after setting his ex-girlfriend’s house on fire while she and her two roommates were inside in May of last year. He was released from jail after serving fewer than six months due to a plea deal from the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office.
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Trent said he was originally charged with 18 felonies, including three attempted murder charges, but pleaded down to one arson charge. He was given a 10-year suspended sentence.
“I went to the side of the house and poured gasoline on the side of the house,” Trent said. “The love of my life is in Baltimore. I know where she lives at and I can’t even talk to her. Can’t say nothing to her. In my head, it was some Romeo and Juliet type of thing – if I can’t have you, no one can have you, at least in Baltimore.”
Trent said his plea deal “most definitely” sends the wrong message to criminals in Baltimore.
“That tells … anybody that ‘I can go shoot somebody or I can attempt to shoot somebody, and I’ll be completely fine,” he said. “It would empower me because I would be like, okay, this man just shot somebody, just blew his head off and he’s just out walking free. I can do anything I want. I can rob somebody, I can shoot somebody, I can do anything I want.”
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His ex-girlfriend, identified only as Alexis, said she was also shocked by the deal.
“I was in shock. I didn’t really know what to feel,” Alexis told WBFF last month. “It doesn’t seem like justice was served, it feels like a political game, but not my justice.”
Former prosecutor Roya Hanna, who is looking to unseat City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, said these pleas “embolden the criminal.”
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“It is pleas like these that embolden the criminal. “It is pleas like these that destroy the city of Baltimore,” Hanna said. “On behalf of Alexis, I’m calling on the state’s attorney’s office to apologize to Alexis.”
“It’s demoralizing to victims, it sends the wrong message to those considering coming forward,” Thiru Vignarajah, a former city and federal prosecutor, added. “To have the message sent that what, the prosecutors are overwhelmed, they can’t take these cases seriously? We have to do better.”
Baltimore has struggled with an increase in crimes in recent years. In 2021, the city notched its seventh consecutive year for surpassing 300 homicides. There were 337 homicides and 726 shootings in total, according to Baltimore police. 2020 saw 335 homicides.
Fox News reached out to Mosby’s office inquiring how many cases in the city have been pleaded down in the last year. The data has not been publicly released.
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“In this situation, that office has shown a pattern of choosing which data to make public and choosing which data to not make public,” Jeremy Eldridge, a defense attorney who was once a prosecutor in the City State’s Attorney’s Office, told WBFF. “When you don’t make public the number of dismissals, it’s obvious which data you want to hide and not be transparent about.”