Federal officials say it was retaliation for providing information to law enforcement.
Baltimore, Md (KM). A four-count indictment was handed down on Wednesday by a federal grand jury to a Taneytown man. Jason Kixer, 40, is charged with illegal possession of firearms, use of fire in the commission of a felony, witness retaliation and malicious destruction of a vehicle by fire.
US Attorney for Maryland, Robert K. Hur, says Kiser set fire to another person’s car as revenge for providing information to law enforcement concerning the possible commission of a federal crime. “According to the allegation, he went on the victim’s property, and set fire to the vehicle,” he says. “The charge that have been added in the superseding indictment related his arson of the victim’s car.”
Hur says investigators found evidence at the crime scene which ties Kiser to the arson. “Evidence that was recovered by law enforcement that included a glove at the scene of the arson. There was gasoline found on the outside of that glove, and also DNA evidence that was recovered from the inside of the glove that went back to Mr. Kiser. And also law enforcement recovered a pair of box cutters that actually was tied back to Mr. Kiser,” he said.
This evidence will be used in court if this case comes to trial, says Hur.
Kiser was already indicted for illegal possession of firearms, but the indictment handed down on Wednesday adds three more charges connected with the arson of the victim’s car.
If he’s convicted, Hur says Kiser could receive a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a maximum of 20 years for witness retaliation. “There is a five-year mandatory minimum that applies to one of the charges. And also a ten-year mandatory minimum that applies on top of whatever sentence he would get. So his exposure under the federal charges that he faces is actually quite significant,” he says.
Federal officials say an indictment is not a finding of guilt, and Mr. Kiser is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
“It doesn’t involve witness retaliation and witness intimidation,” says Hur. “Federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents say he should answer for that. If evidence suggests that someone is engaged in witness intimidation and retaliation, we’re going to hold those folks accountable.”
By Kevin McManus