FRUITLAND, MD (December 11, 2014) – Deputy State Fire Marshals have charged Robert Stidham Jr., 42, a convicted sex offender, with first and second-degree arson in connection with a fire in his own home.
The fire occurred at 4058 Skylar Drive, Fruitland, in Wicomico County, on the afternoon of December 1st, 2014. Stidham was identified by the fire investigators as the owner and occupant of the mobile home.
The fire caused an estimated $1,000.00 in damage to the structure. The fire was brought under control by fire crews from the Fruitland, Allen, and Salisbury Sta. #1.
The Maryland Fire Marshal’s Office reports that an investigation into the fire’s cause determined that Stidham was responsible for setting the fire. A clear motive has not yet been established.
Stidham was taken into custody on Dec. 11, 2014 on an arrest warrant and transported to the Wicomico County Detention Center without incident. If convicted, Stidham faces up to 50 years and $80,000.00 in fines.
On July 10, 2014, Stidham, according to court records, was the complainant in a criminal charge brought against Grace Truitt. Truit was listed in court records as a resident at 4077 Skylar Drive, Eden, Md., charging her with burglary and trespassing. The charges brought in Wicomico County District Court were put on the stet docket.
On April 29, 2014, Stidham was charged with assault and false imprisonment and his address in court records was on the same street as that of Truitt. Grace Truitt is listed as the complainant in the charges, which resulted in a not guilty finding for Stidham on June 17, 2014.
The taxpayers of Maryland were called upon to provide a public defender for both Truitt and Stidham in these cases.
Stidham is on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry for a third-degree sex offense conviction from June 2, 2008.