Police: Next-Door Neighbor Charged in Essex Arson

The man had been arguing with his neighbor before her house caught fire, police said.

John Mosley, 65, of the 700 block of Essex Avenue. (Credit: Baltimore County Police Department)
John Mosley, 65, of the 700 block of Essex Avenue. (Credit: Baltimore County Police Department)

The man living next door to the Essex home where fire broke out Tuesday has been charged with arson, the Baltimore County Police Department reported.

John Wesley Mosley Jr., 65, of the 700 block of Essex Avenue, had been arguing with his neighbor Tuesday morning just before the fire was reported, police said.

The neighbor said she was calling police when she heard a loud noise, then saw fire and windows shattering, according to the report.

After being rescued by a neighbor and police officer, the woman was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview, where police said she was expected to survive.

Police executed a search warrant at Mosley's home Tuesday to investigate whether an incendiary device was involved and did not find one, the report stated.

An accelerant-sniffing dog had a positive reaction near the scene of the blaze, leading investigators to believe that an accelerant was used to start the fire, police said.

Mosley and the victim had been neighbors for "many years, with no history of trouble," according to police.

Twice in the last month, officers were called to investigate suspicious circumstances that involved Mosley, who refused to talk to police when they arrived, the report stated.

Witnesses, including the victim, said Mosley had been yelling outside his house and acting strangely lately, according to police.

Baltimore County Police Department's Mobile Crisis Unit, which handles situations that may involve crisis or mental illness, responded to Mosley's home on Feb. 2, police said. In the past, officers have sent Mosley for emergency evaluations twice, in 1995 and 1996. An emergency evaluation can be made if the person has a mental disorder and presents danger to the life and safety of others.

Mosley was charged Tuesday with attempted first degree murder, first-degree arson and first-degree assault. He was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center without bail, police said.

Related: 3 Injured in Essex House Fire, Police Investigating Cause

Charity Kellner February 05, 2014 at 06:55 PM
Just glad the lady is going to survive.prayers to her for a speedy recovery.mr.mosley looks like he is a few screws loose..
Polly February 06, 2014 at 10:11 AM
For crying out loud but for a miracle she could be dead. Apparently he's had "mental" issues for 10 years?? The state of mental illnesses are growing exponentially and posing risks to all. If he's needed mental healthcare and isn't getting it, why not? does he have family? friends? There needs to be a way to have those that appear to have issues be evaluated ASAP. Mental illness doesn't get better on it's own. I'm all for the rights of individuals and it irks me that I even have to go there but, the rights of the living far exceed those that are in the position to cause death and/or great bodily harm. Think Adam Lanza! the Aurora theater! for just a couple of instances where mental illness went unchecked and/or untreated. Locking them up in a penal system not equipped to deal with the issues is NOT the answer either. They need to be treated and we have the right to be safe.


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