For Immediate Release
Molotov Cocktail Thrower Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison After Setting Neighbor’s House on Fire
Fort Worth, Texas – A Fort Worth man who set fire to his neighbor’s house using a homemade Molotov cocktail has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Mearvin Eugene Hamilton, 53, was charged via criminal complaint with possession of an unregistered destructive device, a Molotov cocktail, in August 2019, and indicted on the same charge in January 2020. He pleaded guilty in February 2020 and was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor, who made an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines due to the circumstances of the offense.
In plea papers, Mr. Hamilton admitted he had constructed an incendiary device by filling a 12-ounce beer bottle with an ignitable liquid and attaching a cloth wick. He acknowledged the homemade Molotov cocktail was a destructive device not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
According to information provided to the Court, the investigation began on July 12, 2019 when a passerby told police he’d witnessed a man throw a lit incendiary device at a home in Fort Worth, setting the home ablaze. Four people inside – two adults and two children – escaped without physical injury.
Fort Worth Fire Department Arson and ATF investigators responded to the scene and spotted Mr. Hamilton sitting on the porch of the home next door, next to containers of gasoline and lighter fluid. Mr. Hamilton – who claimed he feared the individuals next door were trying to kill him – later waived his Miranda rights and admitted to investigators that he “started throwing bottles of gas as the house” in order to “set it on fire.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Fort Worth Fire Department’s Arson Investigations Unit and the Fort Worth Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rob Boudreau and Frank Gatto prosecuted the case.